Study objective: The chances of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) are greatly increased if a bystander provides cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while awaiting the arrival of the emergency medical services. Over 50% of adult Queenslanders have been trained in CPR at some time in the past, however, little is known about the factors that affect their willingness to perform CPR.
Method: A random survey of 4480 Queensland residents was conducted to address this question.
Results: The survey indicated that the most common barriers to performing CPR were a fear of disease, visible blood and perceived danger. In contrast, respondents indicated that they were more likely to administer CPR if the respondent knew the victim, the victim would die if CPR was not administered, and respondents believed that they possessed the necessary skills to perform CPR. A majority (84%) of respondents indicated that they were at least likely to administer CPR. A logistic regression analysis revealed that the respondents most likely to perform CPR were males, those who were married or in a de facto relationship, those in paid employment, smokers, those recently trained in CPR, prospective organ donors, those who cited no barriers to CPR and those who cited one or more factors that would facilitate CPR.
Conclusions: This study indicates that there is considerable variation in Queenslanders' willingness to perform bystander CPR. Public health education campaigns aimed at correcting inaccurate perceptions of risk and addressing other barriers to bystander CPR would promote its use in response to OHCA.