Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: how useful? Attitudes and knowledge of an elderly population

Arch Intern Med. 1992 Mar;152(3):578-82. doi: 10.1001/archinte.152.3.578.


Two hundred forty-eight elderly outpatients completed a survey designed to assess knowledge about the procedural aspects and efficacy of in-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation. We found that older people overestimate the percentage survival to actual hospital discharge following in-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation by nearly 300%. Most older people also have definite opinions about the appropriate application of cardiopulmonary resuscitation for different clinical circumstances. Most believe that patients with advanced Alzheimer's disease or widespread cancer should not be resuscitated, while patients with depression or early Alzheimer's disease should. Inaccurate beliefs about cardiopulmonary resuscitation efficacy can adversely impact on decision making about resuscitation by older patients. Educational efforts for the elderly may lead to more informed decision making and thereby more appropriate use of this technology.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / psychology*
  • Comprehension*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Participation
  • Resuscitation Orders
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survival Rate