CPR feedback devices have gained some popularity over recent years. There are several manufacturers and variations, but essentially all CPR feedback devices perform similar functions., They monitor rate - and many monitor depth of compressions to ensure that CPR delivery is consistent with AHA guidelines. The data can also be downloaded in order to assess interruptions and average depth during a code event.
These devices are not cheap. Laerdal, for instance, markets one for $895.
We looked at a few studies aimed at determining whether these devices improve CPR quality during actual cardiac arrests.
In a recent European study, of three different brands of feedback devices, the researchers found that none improved BLS quality during actual code events when compared to standard BLS without devices. Furthermore, placing the devices can cause delay in CPR, potentially creating harmful outcomes.
On the other hand, feedback device maker Laerdal quotes increased survival rates in New York City by over 10 percent after the devices were introduced there. However, these statistics were evaluated in a retrospective data analysis, and there may be other factors at play in increased survival rates during the time period.
Although the AHA advises CPR feedback devices for training purposes, ultimately, the jury is still out as to whether these devices are helpful in an actual code event, which is why the 2015 AHA guidelines state "It may be reasonable to use audiovisual feedback devices during CPR for real-time optimization of CPR performance." Note the equivocal nature of the sentence.
End Tidal Carbon Dioxide Measurement remains THE standard for monitoring CPR quality in patients with an advanced airway.