CPR: Do You Use Your Hands or Feet?

Bob Trenkamp, a teacher of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the President of the cardiac arrest and stroke charity Saving Lives, suggests that performing CPR with their hands may be too difficult for some people.

He tells us that to compress the adult chest to the 2 inches (5cm) required to keep a heart pumping after a cardiac arrest, a person needs to exert approximately 59 kg’s of pressure over the sternum (breast bone); and then continues that his wife is only 52 kg!

He then goes on to inform that cardiac arrest mainly affects older people at home, and that often these people are living with a partner of a similar age.

He quotes research which was published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine (doi.org/6ht).

Standing Chest Compressions

“You take your shoes off and stand with your toes next to the tops of someone’s ears, facing their feet. Then you put a heel at the centre of their chest, between the nipples, and start pushing down twice a second. You can hum Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees to keep yourself in time.”


Hamzelou, J. (2015) Of Hearts and Heels. New Scientist. 08 August 2015, pp.23.


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