Background: Pauses during chest compressions are thought to have a detrimental effect on resuscitation outcome. The Guidelines 2005 have recently eliminated the post-defibrillation pause. Previous animal studies have shown that multiple pauses of increasing duration decrease resuscitation success. We investigated the effect of varying the characteristics of a single pause near defibrillation on resuscitation outcome. Methods: Part A: 48 swine were anesthetized, fibrillated for 7 min and randomized. Chest compressions were initiated for 90 s followed by defibrillation and then resumption of chest compressions. Four groups were studied-G2000: 40 s pause beginning 20 s before, and ending 20 s after defibrillation, A1: a 20 s pause just before defibrillation, A2: a 20 s pause ending 30 s prior to defibrillation, and group A3: a 10 s pause ending 30 s prior to defibrillation. Part B: 12 swine (Group B) were studied with a protocol identical to Part A but with no pause in chest compressions. Primary endpoint was survival to 4 h. Results: The survival rate was significantly higher for groups A1, A2, A3, and B (5/12, 7/12, 5/12, and 5/12 survived) than for the G2000 group (0/12, p < 0.05). Survival did not differ significantly among groups A1, A2, A3, and B. Conclusions: These results suggest that the Guidelines 2005 recommendation to omit the post-shock pulse check and immediately resume chest compressions may be an important resuscitation protocol change. However, these results also suggest that clinical maneuvers further altering a single pre-shock chest compression pause provide no additional benefit. © 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.