James Cook University researchers have found that CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) skills deteriorate after just three months and refresher courses are needed if lives are to be saved.
JCU’s Associate Professor Richard Franklin was part of a study that looked at the training of more than 35,000 people in CPR techniques.
“Any previous training was better than none, but we found that skills deteriorated within three months, then plateaued from three to six months before deteriorating further.”
Dr Franklin said only 5.6% of people globally survive a cardiac arrest experienced outside a hospital to the point where they can eventually be discharged.
“High-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation improves patient survival, however CPR by laypeople may be suboptimal, limiting effectiveness,” he said.
The study found that combining instructor-led training with feedback results in the greatest improvement in skills for people who were not health professionals.
“Video training is almost as good, but instructor-led training is slightly superior in improving compression depth, hand placement and minimising interruptions,” said Dr Franklin.
He said familiarity with the Bee Gees 1977 disco hit ‘Stayin’ Alive’ was a remarkably effective tool – its 100 beats per minute rhythm giving the perfect cues for rescuers to perform the correct number of compressions at the right speed.
“Overall, laypeople should attend at least one CPR training session that uses valid training strategies. Refresher training should focus on psychomotor skill performance and improving self-confidence, and should be undertaken every 3–6 months,” said Dr Franklin.