UF veterinary resident honored for research comparing chest compression techniques

An anesthesia and pain management resident with the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine has received national recognition for her research, which identifies the CPR chest compression technique that causes the most muscle fatigue.

Bonnie Gatson, D.V.M.Bonnie Gatson, D.V.M., received the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia’s 2014 Smith Medical/SurgiVet Resident Abstract award. The award is given for the best abstract submitted to the group’s annual conference, held Sept. 9-14 in Indianapolis.

She completed the project with her mentor, Andre Shih, D.V.M., an associate professor of anesthesiology and pain management at the college.

“Performing chest compressions is a mainstay of CPR for both humans and for veterinary species,” Gatson said. “Previous studies in people and animals have suggested that the quality of these chest compressions can affect the probability that a patient will survive CPR following cardiac arrest. Part of what affects the quality of chest compressions is muscle fatigue of the rescuer.”

As the rescuer exerts him or herself, the number of effective chest compressions declines over time, which could alter the chances of patient survival, she said.

Very little research has been performed on the effect rescuer fatigue has on the quality of chest compressions, and even less is known regarding its effect on human neonatal patients and in smaller veterinary patients, Gatson said.

The study involved collaboration between clinicians within the UF veterinary hospitals’ anesthesia and pain management department and emergency and critical care services, as well as the UF Health pediatric cardiology department, to compare rescuer performance using different chest compression techniques that are commonly used in human pediatric patients.

“Using a variety of tools to assess muscle fatigue, including thermal camera imaging, we determined that muscle fatigue occurs sooner using a technique where the rescuer uses the thumbs of both hands to compress the chest, compared to a technique where the rescuer uses two fingers of a single hand to compress the chest," she said.

The results of this study are important for determining how often rescuers need to be interchanged during CPR, Gatson added.

 “In situations where there are fewer numbers of rescuers, it would be more appropriate to use chest compression techniques that cause less muscle fatigue in order for the rescuer to provide a greater number of adequate chest compressions over time,” Gatson said. “However, in situations where rescuers can be interchanged frequently, muscle fatigue plays a smaller role in the ability of the rescuer to provide effective chest compressions.”

However, she added that more research in this area is needed before any definitive conclusions can be made.

“We hope that our study is a step in the right direction in order to improve the chances of survival for pediatric and veterinary patients that require CPR,” Gatson said.

Gatson also received the 2014 ACVAA Foundation Resident Scholarship Grant, which was awarded based on merit.

 The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is supported through funding from UF Health and the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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Sarah Carey

Public Relations Director, College of Veterinary Medicine

Sarah Carey, M.A., A.P.R., is director of public relations at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, a job she has held since 1990. Formerly, she was editor of...Read More