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Exhausting Surf Rescues Don't Affect Lifeguards' CPR Skills

FRIDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- An exhausting emergency rescue of someone in surf far from shore doesn't affect a lifeguard's ability to carry out lifesaving CPR, according to a new study.

In fact, the lifeguards were more effective in doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation than were emergency medical personnel, the researchers said.

In one of two tests, Swedish researchers had 26 male and 14 female lifeguards perform CPR alone for 10 minutes on a manikin. They were then evaluated on various performance measures, such as the depth and frequency of chest compressions and the volume of mouth-to-mouth ventilation.

On the second day, the lifeguards carried out a simulated surf rescue of an unconscious person weighing 176 pounds (80 kilograms) more than 320 feet (100 meters) from the shore, with the aid of special type of lifebuoy called a torpedo buoy. After the rescue procedure, the lifeguards again did CPR alone for 10 minutes on a manikin.

"The most important finding was that the extreme exertion during the surf rescue did not affect the capacity of the lifeguards to carry out CPR. This was high during the complete procedure and was just as effective during the 10 minutes independently of whether the lifeguard had previously carried out exertion," study author Andreas Claesson of the University of Gothenburg said in a university news release.

The study was presented in May at the World Congress on Drowning Prevention. Since it has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, its findings should be considered preliminary.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about CPR.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Gothenburg, news release, June 14, 2011

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