Mechanical chest compression

Topic Status Complete

Mechanical chest compression for use by the ambulance service to treat adults with out-of-hospital non-traumatic cardiac arrest.

Outcome of the appraisal


HTW advises that routine adoption of mechanical chest compression devices across the ambulance service is not currently supported by available evidence.

Why was this topic appraised?


This topic was proposed by the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust to support evidence-informed decision making over whether to routinely adopt mechanical chest compression devices across the ambulance service in Wales.

Plain language summary


HTW assessed mechanical chest compression devices to help decide whether they should be made available to ambulance services in NHS Wales.

Survival rates are low for people who have a cardiac arrest out of hospital and need to be resuscitated. Paramedics try to keep the heart pumping, usually by repeatedly pressing down on their chest. Mechanical chest compression devices are designed to perform this action whilst the patient is being transferred to hospital.

It was concluded that the mechanical devices didn’t improve survival rates and aren’t value for money. These devices might be useful for patients who can’t be quickly transported to hospital, but further data is needed to confirm this.

HTW Guidance doesn’t support routine use of the devices by the ambulance service.

Evidence Appraisal Review

EAR001 (02.2018)

View PDF


GUI001 (04.2018)

View PDF

Access our guidance

Our advice documents are free to download, but we would be grateful if you could help us improve our services by telling us why you are looking at our advice and how you intend to use it.
  • We may like to contact you by email to find out more about how you used the documents.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.