AHA Recommends Mandatory CPR Training for Secondary Students

The American Heart Association issued an advisory on Jan. 10 recommending that all secondary school students be required to learn CPR and receive an overview of AEDs in order to receive a high school diploma. The advisory, published in AHA’s journal Circulation, calls for state legislatures to mandate CPR and AED training for graduation, and to provide the funding and other support necessary to ensure the new educational standard is met.


According to the report, 36 states currently have a law or curriculum standard that encourages CPR training. However, only two states–Massachusetts and Iowa–address funding for CPR/AED education. School districts typically rely on various funding and training resources to provide and pay for CPR education. Challenges also include finding time in the curriculum to provide the training, and maintaining CPR manikins.


The authors note that mandatory training would quickly and significantly expand the pool of bystander responders, and that only about 30% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims currently receive any type of CPR. At a minimum, the advisory recommends that students receive basic AED training that addresses the purpose, simplicity and safety of AEDs.


“The expected direct benefit of increasing the number of people trained to perform CPR is to increase the likelihood that a victim of [out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA)] promptly receives CPR,” the advisory says. “This assumes that bystanders trained in CPR are more likely to take action than those who are not trained, an assumption that is supported by data from a study that interviewed bystanders at the scene of OHCAs. Any previous training in CPR was shown to be a strong predictor of whether bystanders acted to provide CPR to the victim, as was CPR training within the previous five years.”

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