Resuscitation

a brief history of resuscitation

Resuscitation2

The Lifesaving Society's 1910 version of Handbook of Instruction cites the year 1650 as the date of the first known instances of resuscitation on a drowning victim. In the late 1760's a Society was formed in Amsterdam to assist drowning victims and provide resuscitation.

A similar group was proposed for England in 1773, but did not initially take off. The need for action on the Thames was taken up Dr. Hawes. Anyone who spotted a drowning victim in the river was requested by Hawes to rescue the person from the water. Victims were to be brought to the shore between the Westminster and London bridges for resuscitation.

The victim had the pipe of a pair of bellows inserted into one nostril, the other nostril and mouth were closed. Air was forced into the lungs through the bellows and forced out by pressure placed on the chest.

In 1910 candidates were required to use the Schafer Method, or "prone-pressure" method, of resuscitation, where victims were laid face down and compression applied to the middle of the back. This was done to expel air from the lungs, upon release of pressure on the back the air would return to the lungs. Having the victim facedown was also done to allow any water, froth or vomit to leave the victims mouth easily.

In 1952 the Shafer method was replaced by the Holger-Neilson method, which was similar in purpose and style. The overall goal was to drive water from the lungs of a drowning victim using pressure applied to the upper back of a facedown victim.

Resuscitation

Just seven years later in 1959 the Direct method, or "mouth-to-mouth" was adopted by the Society. This is still the basis of current CPR methods used today.

Resuscitation was taught to Bronze Medallion candidates. Similar to current instruction candidates were given background and theoretical information. Diagrams of chest cavity and heart were used as well as general descriptions of anatomy and physiology behind circulation and respiration.

Click here to see pages from the 1910 Handbook of Instruction.

Practice drills were used to prepare candidates to use the resuscitation method of the day if need be. Click here to see practice drills.

Throughout the years many methods of resuscitation have been used. Through research, debate and practice these methods have been adapted to create the modern method of CPR we use today.

An Overview of resuscitation methods

Marshall-Hall (developed in 1856)

  • Rescuer positioned at the top of the head, leaning over the victim
  • Victim placed facedown and rolled from side to side, pressure applied between the shoulder blades
  • Victim rolled 15 times per minute

Silvester (introduced in 1857)

  • Rescuer kneeling above the head of the victim
  • Victim positioned face-up with both arms above the head (to inflate the lungs)
  • Arms folded and pressed against the sides of the chest (to deflate the lungs)
  • The sequence continues
  • Howard (presented in 1869)
  • Victim laid on the back
  • Lower ribs pressed with rescuers hands to expel air from the lungs
  • Upon release of pressure lungs fill with air

Howard (presented in 1869)

  • Victim laid on the back
  • Lower ribs pressed with rescuers hands to expel air from the lungs
  • Upon release of pressure lungs fill with air

Schafer (adopted in 1903)

  • "Prone-pressure method"
  • Rescuer knelt beside a facedown victim
  • Pressure applied with two hands to the upper back, the heel of each hand pressing on one of the victims shoulder blades
  • Researched and compared existing methods to form the Schafer method
  • Adopted by the Society because of simplicity and focus on drowning victims
  • Holger-Neilson (developed in 1952)
  • Pressure applied to the upper back of a face-down victim
  • Designed to force water out of the lungs

Schafer Method2

Holger-Neilson (developed in 1952)

  • Pressure applied to the upper back of a face-down victim
  • Designed to force water out of the lungs

holgerneilson2

Direct method (adopted in 1959)

Direct Method
  • "Mouth-to-mouth" was chosen as the Society's preferred method of resuscitation
  • Face-up victim, unlike many previous methods
  • Tight seal around the mouth provides more oxygen to victim
  • Current CPR and resuscitation techniques are based on this method

Click here to for information and diagrams from our 1959 Annual Report regarding Artificial Respiration.

Today the Society's resuscitation methods are based on recommendations from the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR). Every two years ILCOR recommends research-based changes to improve resuscitation. The Society's instructors are re-trained in the new methods and all relevant Society literature is revised on a five-year basis. Our most recent changes were in 2010 - compare our current resuscitation method with methods from the past.