Circ: Brief video training boosts hands-only CPR attempts

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Study participants who viewed a brief hands-only CPR video were more likely to attempt CPR, and perform better quality CPR in an emergency than participants who did not view the short videos, according to research reported in the April issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Researchers noted that chest compression-only CPR, also known as hands-only CPR, has been shown in studies to be at least as effective as standard CPR with mouth-to-mouth ventilation for adult primary cardiac arrest victims. In addition, hands-only CPR may be quicker and easier for lay rescuers to learn, remember and perform than conventional CPR.

To test the efficacy of CPR training, Bentley J. Bobrow, MD, from the University of Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center, and colleagues prospectively enrolled 336 adults without recent CPR training randomized into four groups:

  • Control (no training) (51 patients);
  • 60-second video training (95 patients);
  • Five-minute video training (99 patients); and
  • Eight-minute video training, including manikin practice (91 patients).

Researchers tested all subjects for their ability to perform CPR during an adult out-of-hospital cardiac arrest scenario using a CPR-sensing manikin and skill reporting software. They further separated trained participants by testing half of them immediately after viewing the video and the other half after a two-month delay.

Bobrow and colleagues found that that 23.5 percent of the untrained group did not attempt any CPR vs. 0.7 percent from all the training groups combined. Trained subjects in the immediate and delayed evaluation groups were significantly more likely to attempt CPR compared to untrained subjects.

In addition, all experimental groups had significantly higher average compression rates (closer to the recommended 100 per minute) than the control group, and all experimental groups had significantly greater average compression depth than the control group.

There were no significant differences in the median compression rate and median compression depth between participants tested immediately or tested two months later.

The investigators noted that rate of bystander CPR is less than 30 percent and that common apprehensions about performing CPR include fear of causing harm, fear of litigation and reluctance to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Another obstacle is finding the time to take CPR courses.

The American Heart Association has produced a 22-minute video to be watched at the viewers convenience, which has been found to be effective.

However, this study, according to the authors, is the "first controlled, randomized investigation evaluating the effectiveness of ultra-brief video training for teaching hands-only CPR to the lay public."

They concluded that their results have "enormous public health implications because of the documented hesitancy of untrained rescuers to even attempt CPR, and because it is known that any bystander resuscitation attempt improves outcomes compared to no CPR."