Backgrounds: CPR is a critical step for improving neurologically intact survival after a cardiac arrest. Currently in the U.S., over 90% of cardiac arrests happen out of the hospital, but less than 50% receive bystander CPR. Reducing the time needed to teach CPR may make it easier to train more people who can respond during a cardiac arrest. This study compares qualitative outcomes among participants trained with a 5 minute vs a 30 minute hands-only CPR class.
Methods: A prospective randomized controlled trial of 59 University of Arizona undergraduates was performed. Participants were randomized to either a five-minute (experimental) or 30-minute (control) hands-only CPR instruction class. Pre- and post-testing was performed with a written and simulation test. Measurements collected assessed time to call 911, time to start chest compressions, rate and depth of compressions. Prior to instruction, subjects’ baseline measurements of CPR performance were evaluated during a standardized sudden death scenario using a Laerdal SkillreporterTM mannequin. The test and scenario were repeated after either the five or 30 minute hands-only CPR instruction using the same outcome measures. Statistical tests of association for categorical variables were assessed using the chi-square test and the independent samples t-test was utilized for continuous variables. All tests were two-sided and the level of significance was set at α=0.05.
Results: Among the 59 participants, 28 received five minutes of instruction and 31 received 30 minutes. 15 (25.4%) individuals reported prior CPR training. Post intervention, all measurements reached statistically significant improvements in each group but there was no difference between the two groups in depth of compressions (experimental group: 40.0 mm, 95% CI 36.6-43.4 vs control group: 44.6 mm, 95% CI 40.9-48.3, p=0.064), compressions per minute (113.7, 95% CI 105.5-122.0 vs 123.2, 95% CI 115.1-131.4, p=0.098), time to starting chest compressions (13.5 vs 12.4 sec, p=0.45), or time to calling 911 (8.34 vs 7.65 sec, p= 0.58). Further, 100% of the experimental group and 94% of the control group said they would probably or definitely perform hands-only CPR in real life (p=0.17).
Conclusion: Five-minute instruction is as effective as 30-minute instruction at teaching undergraduate students how to perform quality bystander hands-only CPR.