The History of CPR Manikin Little Anne

Usually one gets to know a little bit about someone before pressing their lips up against theirs. But how many of the over 300 million people who have been “mouth to mouth” with Little Anne, also known as Resusci Anne, know her background?

In 1960, Dr. Bjorn Lind and Dr. Peter Safar approached Asmund S. Laerdal, a children’s book publisher and toy maker in Norway, with a unique proposal. The doctors wanted Laerdal to help them create a life-size doll to train students on a new concept of mouth ventilation. Laerdal worked with soft plastic to make his dolls, and he used the same materials to produce the first manikin to be used for resuscitation training.

With the birth of Little Anne, Laerdal went from bringing joy to children to helping to save lives.

It turns out that the story of Little Anne actually begins in the late 1800s. At that time, the body of a woman was pulled from the Seine River in Paris. The pathologist was so intrigued by the woman’s half smile that he had a plaster mold of her face made. This death mask soon was sold all over the country, becoming the subject for many artists, books, and poems. It is said that at one time no fashionable European home was complete without a mask of the unknown woman of Seine, or the “Inconnue,” on the wall. Asmund Laerdal needed a face for the body, and he remembered seeing a mask of the Inconnue in his grandparents’ home. The toy maker thought it would be perfect for the CPR doll.

Little Anne composite
From “Inconnue” to Little Anne
Image copyright BBC © 2014

From the conception of Resusci Anne in 1960 to about 1992, there are not many details that can be found about the actual doll, only that it was life-like in size and facial features, made of soft plastic, and modeled after a female. Since then Little Anne has come a long way. She is not only available with more features and sizes but she has a male counterpart, Harvey, and is also available as Baby Anne, Infant Anne, and Junior.

Little Anne Timeline: Simulation History

1992

• Little Anne is introduced at the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update (ECCU) Conference in Seattle, to meet the need for widespread quality CPR training and a lower student to manikin ratio.
• Original design allows head to detach and be stored inside the body
• Audible compression “clicker” confirms correct compressions
• Compression difficulty is adjusted using a dial on the underside of the manikin
• Airway obstruction and chest rise allow for more realistic training
• Individual manikin faces allow for convenient, effective sanitation
• Cleanup is quick and easy with low cost, disposable airways

1996

• A compression spring for consistent resistance is added to the chest
• The chest skin becomes removable for convenience
• Integrated chest plate and stomach band are created for extra durability
• Shoulder design is improved to better accommodate two rescuer CPR

1999

• Two flaps are added at each side of the chest skin to facilitate early defibrillation training

2003

• Little Anne AED is introduced to facilitate AED training

2013

• Molded hair and a jacket are added for enhanced realism
• Rib plate is changed to give more vertical movement of the chest

2017

  • Little Anne QCPR is introduced to bring quality CPR training down to the bystander level
  • • A QCPR sensor is added to the rib plate to measure and provide real-time feedback on compression rate, depth, release, and ventilation volume
    • Objective feedback and measurement technology is delivered to smartphones and tablets using apps and Bluetooth Smart
    • Instructors can efficiently monitor the performance of up to 6 manikins simultaneously
    • The objective feedback adds an element of fun and engagement to community CPR courses

    Click through the slideshow below to see the evolution of Little Anne.


    Jayme Maley is the Marketing Manager at pocket Nurse. The Little Anne Timeline was created by Mary Lanigan, Associate Product Marketing Manager at Laerdal Medical. Images copyright of Laerdal Medical. Pocket Nurse is an authorized Laerdal distributor. To see our selection of Laerdal Annie solutions, see the Manikins and Models page at PocketNurse.com.

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