How long has it been since you’ve practiced your cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills? Recent findings show that the majority
of people untrained in CPR, and even many trained emergency personnel, do not push with enough force.

The research, detailed in the June issue of Cardiovascular Engineering, tested 104 adults untrained in CPR and 83 trained firefighters. Findings showed that most of the untrained people did not apply enough force, said Leslie Geddes, Purdue University’s Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering, in
a press release.

Participants pushed on a bathroom scale, which recorded force, as though they were performing CPR. “All we are trying
to establish is how hard people are able to push in a simulated CPR situation,” Geddes said. “You can’t tell from the data how successful they would have been in a real-life situation.” The findings showed that 60% of the CPR-trained rescue personnel pushed with more than 125 pounds of force, whereas more than 60% of those not trained in CPR failed to push with that much force. Pushing with more than 125 pounds, which the American Heart Association recommends, increases the potential for rib fractures; however, chances for survival also increase.