March 11, 1994
Media Contact: Joann Rodgers
Phone: (410) 955-8659
E-mail: JRodgers@welchlink. welch.jhu.edu
A study of CPR training programs suggests that too few of the generation most likely to use CPR are learning the technique, says a Johns Hopkins researcher.
In a survey of 1,414 people about to take an American Red Cross cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course, Nisha Chandra, M.D., found that three out of four were under age 40. Seventeen percent were 41 to 50. Only 9 percent were 51 to 70, the age group most likely to be called on to use CPR at home.
Prior studies reported that more than 70 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home, and that many victims could be helped by cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the spot.
"It is uncommon for someone under the age of 40 to experience a cardiac arrest," says Chandra. "Yet our study shows that enrollees in CPR courses tend to be between 21 and 40 years old. We should be training more folks in their 50's, 60's and 70's."
According to Chandra, more than 81 percent, of the enrollees were taking the course as a job requirement. Only 3.3 percent enrolled because a family member was at high risk for a heart attack. And 19 percent said they had been present when someone had a cardiac arrest. Among that group many were untrained in CPR at the time.
"These results suggest training agencies need to re-examine training strategies," says Chandra. "We need to find a way to give CPR training to those most likely to use the technique."
CPR as practiced today was developed at Johns Hopkins in the 1950's. Other researchers on the present study include Larry D. Newell Ed.D., of the Red Cross; Pamela Myirski, R.N., and Cynthia Siu, Ph.D., of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions,