Research suggests rescuers deliver ventilations outside of recommendations during out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), which can be deleterious to survival. We aimed to determine if ambulance clinician compliance with ventilation recommendations could be improved using the Zoll Accuvent real time ventilation feedback device (VFD).
Participants simulated a two-minute cardiac arrest scenario using a mannequin and defibrillator without ventilation feedback. Eligible for inclusion were all clinicians aged ≥18 years who perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as part of their role, who had completed an internal advanced life support (ALS) refresher. Following familiarisation of a few minutes with the VFD, participants repeated the two-minute scenario with ventilation feedback. Ventilation rate and volume and CPR quality were recorded. Primary outcome was % difference in ventilation compliance with and without feedback. Secondary outcomes were differences between paramedic and non-paramedic clinicians and compliance with chest compression guidelines.
One hundred and six participants completed the study. Median ventilation rate without feedback was 10 (IQR 8–14, range 4–30) compared to 9 (IQR 9–9, range 6–17) with feedback; median tidal volume without feedback was 630 mls (IQR 518–725, range 201–1114) compared to 546 mls (IQR 531–560, range 490–750) with feedback. Proportion of clinicians ≥50% compliant with European Resuscitation Council ventilation recommendations were significantly greater with ventilation feedback compared to without, 91% vs. 9%, (McNemars test p = <0.0001). Paramedics out performed non-paramedic clinicians with and without feedback and compression quality was not compromised by using the VFD.
Ambulance clinician baseline ventilation quality was frequently outside of recommendations, but a VFD can ensure treatment is within evidence-based recommendations. Further research is required to validate the use of the VFD in true clinical practice and to evaluate the relationship between improved ventilation quality during OHCA and patient outcomes.