Aim of the study

Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) improves survival after cardiac arrest, but there is a discrepancy between the age group normally attending CPR-classes and the age group most likely to witness a cardiac arrest. We wanted to study if elderly lay persons could perform 10 min of CPR on a realistic manikin with continuous chest compressions (CCC) and conventional CPR (30:2).


Volunteers were tested 5–7 months after CPR-classes. They were randomized to CCC or 30:2, and to receive feedback (FB) or not. Quality of CPR, age adjusted maximum heart rate (HRmax), and subjective exhaustion ratings were measured and evaluated in a blinded fashion. Temporal development and group differences were evaluated with ANOVA procedures.


All 64 volunteers were able to perform CPR for 10 min and rated their efforts as mild to moderate in concordance with a mean HRmax of 78%. Quality of CPR was similar in all groups, except for chest compression rate that was slightly higher and had less variability in the FB group. Overall chest compression depth was 41 ± 4.5 mm. Analysis of temporal development of chest compression depth revealed a small initial decline before leveling off. As expected, CCC group had less pauses and higher total number of chests compressions.


Lay people in the age group 50–76 were able to perform CPR with acceptable quality for 10 min and we found only very slight temporal quality deterioration. This makes training programs for the elderly meaningful to improve survival after cardiac arrest.