Faculty Mentor

Nate Lawton

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-16-2018


Physical Education, Health and Recreation


Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by civilian responders is a critical aspect in the survival of cardiac arrest patients. According to the American Red Cross (ARC), the average response time to a 911 call is 8-12 min. High-quality CPR performed as soon as possible following cardiac arrest considerably increases a person’s chances of survival and recovery. It is possible that fatigue may decrease CPR quality, and to date no data exists on the metabolic cost of preforming hands-only CPR. PURPOSE: To determine the energy expenditure of performing hands-only CPR during the average emergency response time. METHODS: Eight college-aged participants (23.6 ± 4.6 years) with a current CPR certification from the ARC or American Heart Association (AHA) volunteered for the study. Anthropometric measurements were collected, participants were then fitted with a heart rate (HR) monitor. Indirect calorimetry was used to measure oxygen consumption and caloric expenditure during hands-only CPR for the minimum 8-minute response time. Participants were instructed to provide hands-only CPR to a manikin at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute with a metronome (110 bpm) providing pacing. Descriptive statistics (mean ± SD) were evaluated for peak HR, peak metabolic equivalents (MET), estimated maximal HR, percent of maximal HR and caloric expenditure (kcals). RESULTS: Participants expended 33.3 ± 13.7 kcals when performing hands-only CPR for 8 minutes. Further, participants provided compressions at an intensity of 5.7 ± 1.5 METs. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that the metabolic cost of performing hands-only CPR for the minimum 8-minute response time is comparable to the energy expenditure of a very brisk walk. One of the common reasons to discontinue CPR is that the responder is too exhausted to continue. The results of our study suggest it is unlikely that cardiorespiratory fatigue is the primary cause of exhaustion. Therefore, future research should aim to measure the energy expenditure of hands-only CPR to volitional exhaustion and identify perceived sources of fatigue.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.