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Can I Perform CPR in a Hospital Chair?

When manufacturers design and build medical treatment chairs, they are not trying to make a product that can be used for every single procedure known to modern medicine. If they did, we couldn't afford to buy them.

Looking at the chairs that fall into the category of equipment rather than furniture, one might get the idea that - mechanically - CPR can be performed in the chair.









Here's a response I recently wrote when this question was raised:


Your question or concern is one that has stuck with me for years. What a convenience it would be to say Yes.

My favorite Go-To is what I was told in CPR ReCert class: “Never perform CPR on a bed or in a chair. You’ll be compressing foam and not ribcage.” To which an ER nurse responded, “I just saved a patient’s life in the back of a cab with CPR.” Was she lucky or good? Or both?

I was once forced into the middle of a Nurses vs Safety showdown over the same question at a cancer center. Safety said NO and nurses said BUT I SHOULD BE ABLE TO.

[Your hospital] probably has a protocol for CPR. If it says no CPR in chairs or beds, it doesn’t matter if physically you can execute the procedure safely. If there is no restriction, should you try it?

My answer always is no CPR in chairs and no CPR in the [this] product line. There are too many variables:

  • Is [this product] in its lowest height position?

  • Where is the patient positioned in the chair (over halfway towards the top or centered over the column?

  • Weight of the patient/height of the emergency responder?

  • Are you back out of Trendelenburg to 180 degrees flat?

Mechanically, you may be right, until one of those variables or maybe something completely different alters what you intuitively perceive. The safest thing to do and to In-Service your team with is to bring the patient to the floor on a bed board.

Not what you wanted to hear? Sorry but I’m glad you asked first!


I would love to have a chair that could serve as a safe platform for performing CPR. My guess is that adding that capability would make it either fail to be comfortable to sit in or too expensive to buy.


Any thoughts?

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