A new study has found that using a metronome optimizes the rate of chest compressions during CPR.
The study is published in the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) journal Pediatrics.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is vital when someone's blood flow or breathing stops. Within minutes of a child's blood flow stopping, permanent brain damage or even death can occur, which is why CPR must be administered until the child's heartbeat and breathing return.
Although CPR is a life-saving technique that almost anyone can learn, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), 70% of Americans either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has lapsed.
The technique is best done by someone trained in an accredited CPR course, but the newest techniques emphasize chest compressions over rescue breathing - reversing long-held guidance.
To investigate how CPR on children can be improved, researchers conducted a simulation-based study using 155 pediatric residents, medical students, fellows and nurses.
Metronome improves percentage of compressions delivered
The study participants were asked to perform two rounds of chest compressions on a pediatric manikin. One round involved the use of a metronome and the other round without.
Of the study participants, 74 were randomly assigned to use the metronome during the first 2-minute round of CPR, and the other participants used it on the second round. There was a 15-minute break between the two rounds.
Results showed that when using the metronome, there was a statistically significant improvement in percentage of compressions delivered to the manikin within an acceptable rate (90-100 compressions per minutes), compared with not using the metronome.
In detail, when the participants used the metronome, they reached the acceptable compression rate 72% of the time, compared with 50% of the time when the metronome was off.
Interestingly, the metronome did not affect hand position or percentage of the average downstroke-upstroke ratio.
Commenting on their findings, the researchers write:
"The rate of chest compressions during CPR can be optimized by the use of a metronome. These findings will help medical professionals comply with the AHA guidelines."
The team notes that the metronome had a larger effect among medical students and pediatric residents and fellows, but this effect was not observed among pediatric nurses.
Whether using a metronome in the "real world" for pediatric CPR is practical, however, remains to be seen. The study authors say future studies are needed to determine whether the metronome technique will be as effective in real-life scenarios.
This is not the first time that CPR chest compressions have been made into a musical affair. The video below is from the AHA in 2011, advising the public to time chest compressions to the beat of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive."
In July of this year, Medical News Today reported on a study that found CPR administered from bystanders is linked to higher survival among sudden cardiac arrest victims.