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Covid-19 Primary Care Resources

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

There is a lack of agreement regarding whether CPR is an aerosol generating procedure

This information is sourced from the BMA, the Resuscitation Council UK, the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) and PHE:

NERVTAG advice 24th April 2020:

  • It is biologically plausible that chest compressions could generate an aerosol, but only in the same way that an exhalation breath would do
  • We do not consider that the evidence supports chest compressions or defibrillation being procedures that are associated with a significantly increased risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections

PHE guidance 24th April:

  • We will not be adding chest compressions to the list of AGPs
  • Healthcare organisations may choose to advise their clinical staff to wear FFP3 respirators, gowns, eye protection and gloves when performing chest compressions but we strongly advise that there is no potential delay in delivering this life saving intervention

BMA guidance 27th April:

  • Our position is that chest compressions as part of CPR should be reinstated to the list of aerosol generating procedures by PHE
  • The guidance from Resuscitation Council UK provides a clear process for both protecting patients and healthcare workers – treating chest compressions as a procedure requiring full PPE
  • This involves one staff member shocking the patient up to three times with a defibrillator, whilst wearing fluid resistant surgical mask, disposable apron, disposable gloves and disposable eye protection, giving others – if they are not already wearing it – time to put on full protective PPE; namely FFP3 respirator, disposable gown, disposable gloves and disposable eye protection

Resuscitation Council UK guidance 28th April:

  • RCUK maintains its belief that AGP PPE provides the safest level of protection when administering chest compressions, CPR, and advanced airway procedures in known or suspected COVID-19 patients


BMA COVID-19: PPE for doctors 

Published: 27/04/2020
Published: 28/04/2020