Advances in cardiac arrest management have led to the use of a mechanical chest compression device in an attempt to improve outcomes in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This systematic review set out to identify whether the inclusion of the mechanical device improves survival rates in the cardiac arrest patient within the emergency setting, and explored the themes: training, environment and time of device deployment. The systematic review measured the value of mechanical chest compression devices versus standard manual compressions in respect to resuscitation outcomes (return of spontaneous circulation). Ten studies with data from 12 894 adult patients, who presented with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) or in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA), were included. Results demonstrated an equality between manual and mechanical CPR with a statistical increase in survival when the mechanical device is used. Training, time of deployment, guideline adherence and timing of rhythm check/defibrillation presented challenges in the analysis of the data.