Reverse CPR: A pilot study of CPR in the prone position

Sean P. Mazer, Myron Weisfeldt, Diane Bai, Carol Cardinale, Rohit Arora, Cecilia Ma, Robert R. Sciacca, David Chong, Le Roy E. Rabbani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Background: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), as described in 1960, remains the cornerstone of therapy for cardiopulmonary arrest. Recent case reports have described CPR in the prone position. We hypothesized rhythmic back pressure on a patient in the prone position with sternal counter-pressure (termed reverse CPR here) would increase intra-thoracic pressure and in turn systolic blood pressure (SBP) during cardiac arrest versus standard CPR. Methods and results: Six patients from Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center's Cardiac and Medical Intensive Care Units (CICU and MICU) were enrolled. Eligible patients had suffered circulatory arrest and failed standard CPR for at least 30 min. After enrollment the patients received 15 additional min of standard CPR and then reverse CPR for 15 min. The study's primary endpoint, mean SBP, significantly improved from 48 mmHg during standard CPR to 72 mmHg during reverse CPR (mean improvement=23±14 mmHg). Mean calculated mean arterial pressure (MAP) was also improved significantly from 32 mmHg during standard CPR to 46 mmHg during reverse CPR (mean improvement=14±11 mmHg). The mean diastolic blood pressure (DBP) improved from 24 mmHg during standard to 34 mmHg during reverse CPR (mean improvement=10±12 mmHg). This difference did not meet statistical significance. No patients had return of spontaneous circulation. Conclusions: Reverse CPR generates higher mean SBP and higher mean MAP during circulatory arrest than standard CPR. These novel findings justify further research into this technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-285
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Reverse CPR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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