Comparing the two-finger versus two-thumb technique for single person infant CPR: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Michael G. Millin, David Bogumil, Jennifer N. Fishe, Rita V. Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction: Current guidelines recommend that single person cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on an infant should be performed with two-fingers just below the inter-mammillary line with the hand clenched, while two-person CPR should be performed with two-thumbs with the hands encircling the chest. Those recommendations are based on literature that demonstrates higher quality chest compressions with the two-thumb technique, with concerns that this technique may compromise ventilation parameters when performed by the single rescuer. The purpose of this study is to compare the two compression techniques’ performance during CPR using both compression and ventilation parameters. Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of literature identified through a search of PubMed and One-Search comparing the quality of chest compressions and ventilation parameters between the two-thumb and two-finger techniques (Prospero registration # CRD42018087672). Results: We identified 20 manuscripts examining single person infant CPR that met study criteria, with 16 that included data suitable for meta-analysis. All of the studies included in the analysis were performed on a standardized manikin. Overall, the two-thumb technique resulted in a mean difference of 5.61 mm greater compression depth compared to the two-finger technique, with 36.91% more compressions of adequate depth per national guidelines. Interestingly, ventilation parameters did not differ between the two techniques. Conclusion: While recognizing that the results of this review may differ from actual clinical experience due to the lack of fidelity between manikins and actual human infants, this systematic review with meta-analysis demonstrates that when CPR is performed on a simulated infant manikin by a single rescuer, the two-thumb technique with hands encircling the chest improves chest compression quality and does not appear to compromise ventilation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-172
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Cerebral vascular circulation
  • Compression depth
  • Infant
  • Pulmonary ventilation
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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