Complete chest recoil during laypersons' CPR: Is it a matter of weight?

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Chest compressions depth and complete chest recoil are both important for high-quality Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). It has been demonstrated that anthropometric variables affect chest compression depth, but there are no data about they could influence chest recoil. The aim of this study was to verify whether physical attributes influences chest recoil in lay rescuers.


We evaluated 1 minute of compression-only CPR performed by 333 laypersons immediately after a Basic Life Support and Automated External Defibrillation (BLS/AED) course. The primary endpoint was to verify whether anthropometric variables influence the achievement a complete chest recoil. Secondary endpoint was to verify the influence of anthropometric variables on chest compression depth.


We found a statistically significant association between weight and percentage of compressions with correct release (p ≤ 0.001) and this association was found also for height, BMI and sex. People who are heavier, who are taller, who have a greater BMI and who are male are less likely to achieve a complete chest recoil. Regarding chest compressions depth, we confirm that the more a person weighs, the more likely the correct depth of chest compressions will be reached.


Anthropometric variables affect not only chest compression depth, but also complete chest recoil. CPR instructors should tailor their attention during training on different aspect of chest compression depending on the physical characteristics of the attendee.

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