Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Kinesiology




Steven C. Davis


Quality chest compressions during Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) are vital to maintaining adequate perfusion of oxygenated blood to the organs of the body to sustain life. Over the years, the compression rate recommended in Basic Life Support (BLS)/ Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) protocols for the best possible outcome has risen, and with that increase there are questions regarding rescuer fatigue and the effectiveness of compressions. Layperson and professional rescuers, answering to an emergency, both maintain continuous chest compressions until advanced life support arrives. Depending on the location, this arrival time would most likely be longer than the two minute standard time given to rotate rescuers before fatigue compromises performance. The objective of this research was to investigate the level of rescuer fatigue associated with continuous compressions, varying compression rates, physical fitness, gender, and among layperson versus professional rescuers.

Sixty-one participants performed uninterrupted chest compressions on a manikin for 15 minutes. Before performing compressions, physical fitness was evaluated using a YMCA bench press for an assessment of upper body strength/endurance and a 3-minute step test to evaluate aerobic fitness. Subjects performed two trials at compression rates of greater or equal to 80 and greater or equal to 100 per minute with a 5-minute rest between trials.

Male professional rescuers had a greater strength/endurance, and thus were able to perform compressions for a longer period of time compared to their female counterparts. Compression duration and the YMCA Bench Press test score were significantly correlated (p = .0135). Cardiocerebral Resuscitation providers should maintain an adequate upper body strength, particularly if they may be required to perform continuous chest compressions at high rates for more than a few minutes.