In addition, at six months after the training – a critical point for CPR skill retention – those who took the shorter course performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) just as well or better than those who take the traditional training, according to Dr. Paul Pepe, chief of emergency medicine at University of Texas Southwestern.

For the study, volunteers were selected randomly to take either the 30-minute course or a traditional three-hour session. The short course consisted of a 23-minute digital video disc program, which covers basic adult CPR skills, including recognition of signs of life, calling for help, opening the airway, rescue breaths and chest compressions.

As two dozen or more students watched the video in each session simultaneously, they practiced the CPR techniques almost continuously for nearly 20 minutes on their own personal mini-manikin, supervised by a “facilitator” who answered occasional questions from the trainees. Also included was a three-minute discussion and demonstration on the recognition of and best procedures for choking, as well as a five-minute demonstration of the use of an AED.

In the traditional course, students attended a three-hour session consisting of lectures supplemented by related video-based instruction, practice of basic CPR skills, choking procedures and instruction and hands-on practice in the use of an AED. During this course, there was one certified instructor for every six to eight students.

After six months, trainees who took the 30-minute course called 9-1-1 and provided adequate ventilation more frequently than those who took the longer course. Also, both at the initial and six-month follow-up test, the students who took the traditional course took 30 percent longer to assess for signs of life, and they took significantly more time to pause between chest compressions to perform ventilations.

MEDICA.de; Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center