Efficacy of standard chest compressions in patients with Nuss bars

Joshua D. Stearns, Jaffalie Twaibu, Dzifa Kwaku, Vincent Pizziconi, James Abbas, Ashwini Gotimukul, Dawn E. Jaroszewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The Nuss procedure temporarily places intrathoracic bars for repair of pectus excavatum (PE). The bars may impact excursion and compliance of the anterior chest wall while in place. Effective chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) require depressing the anterior chest wall enough to compress the heart between sternum and spine. We assessed the force required to perform the American Heart Association's recommended chest compression depth after Nuss repair. Methods: A lumped element elastic model was developed to simulate the relationship between chest compression forces and displacement with focus on the amount of force required to achieve a depth of 5 cm in the presence of 1-3 Nuss bars. Literature review was conducted for evidence supporting potential use of active abdominal compressions and decompression (AACD) as an alternative method of CPR. Results: The presence of bars notably lowered compression depth by a minimum of 69% compared to a chest without bar(s). The model also demonstrated a dramatic increase (minimum of 226%) in compressive forces required to achieve recommended 5 cm depth. Literature review suggests AACD could be an alternative CPR in patients with Nuss bar(s). Conclusions: In our model, Nuss bars limited the ability to perform chest compressions due to increased force required to achieve a 5 cm compression. The greater the number of Nuss bars present the greater the force required. This may prevent effective CPR. Use of active abdominal compressions and decompressions should be studied further as an alternative resuscitation modality for patients after the Nuss procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4299-4306
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)/education
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)/methods
  • Funnel chest/surgery
  • Pectus excavatum (PE)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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