Monday, November 14, 2011

Fear Of Trying




Source American Heart Association


# 5961



A study just presented  at the American Heart Association’s annual Scientific Sessions held in Orlando, Florida over the weekend provides clues as to why only 30% of the lay public who witness a cardiac arrest attempt resuscitation.


The study, conducted by Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that among the people they interviewed, most lacked the skills and confidence to perform CPR - even when they had received CPR training in the past.


Nearly 3/4ths were unaware of the new `hands only’ method of CPR, although once instructed, most felt more confident in their ability to render aid during a cardiac arrest.


Excerpts from the press release follow, after which I’ll return with more.


University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Members of the public lack skills, confidence necessary to save lives with CPR, Penn research shows

Findings point to need for new training strategies, dissemination of information about latest CPR techniques and guidelines

ORLANDO – Even members of the lay public who have received CPR training are confused about how to perform the lifesaving skill and say they don't have confidence in their ability to do it properly, according to a study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania which will be presented today at the American Heart Association's annual Scientific Sessions (Abstract #65).


"Despite hours spent in CPR training courses and passing an exam, our study shows that even people who have been trained in what to do during a cardiac arrest may ultimately be unable to recall when or how to perform the skill," said lead author Audrey Blewer, MPH, of the Penn Emergency Medicine Department's Center for Resuscitation Science. "We believe that new approaches to training members of the lay public, especially by providing more hands-on training time and information about the option to perform "hands-only" CPR can improve peoples' ability and willingness to respond to a cardiac arrest."

(continue. . . )



Witnessing a cardiac arrest, particularly of a loved-one, can be a terrifying and traumatic experience. Far too often, bystanders are paralyzed into doing nothing while they wait for rescuers to arrive.


As a paramedic, only rarely did I arrive on scene to find someone attempting to resuscitate a patient.


Almost inevitably, however, some kind soul had placed a pillow under the head of the victim to make them more `comfortable’, effectively closing off their airway.


Consequently, even with the advanced life support equipment we carried, our success rate in reviving these patients was dismally low.


The new hands only resuscitation method, which eliminates the need for mouth-to-mouth ventilation, makes doing CPR easier than ever before.


But hand’s on training is still important, if you expect to be able to react properly during an emergency. While it won’t take the place of an actual class, you can watch how it is done on in this brief instructional video from the American Heart Association.


A CPR class only takes a few hours, and it could end up helping you save the life of someone you love.


To find a local CPR course contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, or (usually) your local fire department or EMS can steer you to a class.


For more on the recent changes to bystander CPR, you may wish to visit these recent blogs.


NPM11: Early CPR Saves Lives
AHA Unveils 2010 CPR Guidelines

JAMA: Compression Only CPR



A final note.


One of the big contributors to sudden cardiac death at home is a failure to call 911 when coronary symptoms first appear. Often people will wait hours, hoping the chest pain will go away, before calling for help.


From the CDC’s Heart Attack Information page:

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

The five major symptoms of a heart attack are—

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
  • Shortness of breath.


If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, you should call 9–1–1 immediately.

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