Recent reports have suggested that CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, which is adminstered to people whose hearts have stopped beating) can be learned in half an hour. The formal cetification course required a 3- to 4-hour commitment. A new study verifies that the boiled-down course does indeed work just as well.
Bottom line first
If you need or want to get certified in CPR, taking the half-hour course is not only sufficient, it may be more effective at teaching the basic lifesaving skill than the longer course.
This study in 50 words or less
Researchers randomly assigned non-medical people to either the standard multi-hour American Heart Association course or the 30-minute version. Experts then watched videos of students' techniques immediately after and six months later. Short course students did just as well, in some aspects better.
Yes, but. . .
One study sponsor was American Airlines, which may have an investment in a positive outcome so it could reduce costs of training personnel.
The short course does not provide CPR certification. That still requires the long-form course.
The benefits of the short-term course seem to be connected to more time spent hands-on with the mannequins. Sutdents follow along with a 22-minute CD-ROM presentation and practice as they go.
These findings duplicate those of similar studies on short-form CPR classes done over the past few years.
This study dovetails nicely with two other reports suggesting that for laypeople doing CPR, just doing chest compressions, and not doing the mouth-to-mouth breathing that's traditionally taught, provides better results than trying to do both. This is controversial in the field, however, and the American Heart Association does not endorse it in its latest CPR guidelines for non-medical people.
So what are you going to do about it?
If you are seeking CPR training, contact the American Heart Association and ask about the Family and Friends CPR Anytime Course. The course can be used in any number of settings, and costs $30 for a kit with one mannequin.
Families with older people in the household may want to take particular note. The average age for people who have sudden cardiac arrest is 63. Families with people who have heart disease may also benefit.