Report: Most Laypersons Don't Know How to Perform CPR

Researchers say education needs to be more targeted


 
 

Abilene Reporter-News (Texas) | | Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Abilene, Texas - You see someone suddenly fall to the ground, unconscious on the street or at a park. A quick check of the pulse shows the heart's not beating. Now what?

Of course, someone needs to call 911 for an ambulance. But odds are, the victim won't survive unless someone quickly starts performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Unfortunately, most people won't try.

While performing CPR is simpler than ever, knowledge about how to perform the lifesaving procedure is sketchy, even for many who once received training.

Researchers have found that only about 30 to 40 percent of people with no medical background will attempt resuscitation when they see someone in apparent cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, causing the heart to suddenly stop beating. According to the American Heart Association, more than 380,000 sudden cardiac arrests happen outside a hospital each year, and 88 percent of these occur at home. Less than 8 percent of people whose heart stops beating outside a hospital survive.

CPR is no longer a complex juggle of chest compressions and rescue breaths. Since 2010, the standard has been to focus on the heart with rapid, steady pumps to the chest. You can skip the mouth-to-mouth.

Researchers know that getting effective CPR from a bystander doubles or triples a victim's chances of survival. But too few people know how, particularly in some neighborhoods, and even people with training may be reluctant to help.

A study published last fall in The New England Journal of Medicine looked at the race and neighborhood of more than 14,000 cardiac-arrest victims in 29 U.S. cities. Researchers found that people who suffer cardiac arrest in poor black neighborhoods are half as likely to get CPR from a bystander than people in better-off white neighborhoods. But those who did get CPR were twice as likely to survive to be discharged from a hospital than those who did not.

Survival rates for cardiac arrest outside a hospital ranged from a low of 0.2 percent in Detroit to 16 percent in Seattle, largely because of the difference in training and willingness of people to perform CPR.

On Monday, in the AHA journal Circulation, a team headed by the same doctor who led the earlier study issued a statement suggesting that CPR education needs to be targeted to high-risk neighborhoods where residents are more likely to suffer cardiac arrest and have low rates of bystander CPR.

One-size-fits-all training doesn't address the African-American, Hispanic and low-income neighborhoods of any race that most need to have people ready and able to perform hands-only CPR, said Dr. Comilla Sasson, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver.

Geographic tracking of cardiac arrest - and where people who are trained live - can help community leaders target instruction and make a case for residents to prepare.

The Circulation statement also recommended that emergency dispatchers be provided with a standard script to guide willing bystanders through CPR.

A small study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and reported at the heart association's 2011 scientific meeting found that most potential bystanders were uncertain of their CPR skills, even though 15 out of 19 people interviewed had been trained at least once.

Once researchers spent a few minutes telling each person a little bit about the new hands-only guidelines, 17 subjects said they felt more confident about their ability to perform CPR using that technique.

The Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., sent home CPR-education kits with 117 families as their youngsters were discharged from the hospital. Each kit contained an instructional video and a small mannequin for practice. Most of the parents expressed confidence in their CPR skills up to six months later, a hospital study found.

The heart association offers an even simpler set of instructions for people wishing to learn hands-on CPR: a one-minute introductory video at www.heart.org/cpr.
 



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Mechanical CPR is Producing Resuscitation Results Beyond Expectations

Discover why clinical studies are finding mechanical CPR just as effective as optimally-performed CPR.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New York Boys Rescued from Snow Pile

Plow accidentally covers Newberg boys.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Technology Helps Missouri Ambulances

Strategic GPS tracking helps in Springfield.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Profile: Hospital Wing Air Ambulance

Take a look inside this Memphis service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Violence, Arson in Ferguson

Crowds in Ferguson and elsewhere react to decision.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

California Bus Rollover

One killed and dozens injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Buffalo Residents Dig Out and Prepare for Flooding

Flooding expected as heavy snow melts.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >