Background: Few data exist regarding the retention of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) skills over time in relationship to characteristics of lay volunteer responders, training, or risk of exposure to victims. The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics associated with adequate CPR and AED skill retention.
Methods and results: Skill retention was tested 3 to 18 months (mean 6.9 +/- 3.5 months) after initial training. Instructors judged adequacy of performance of essential CPR or AED skills and provided an overall assessment (adequate/inadequate), which was used as the outcome. Data on 7261 laypersons trained in CPR (4358 also received AED training) in 24 sites across the United States and Canada were available from the Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Trial. Characteristics of the volunteers, classes, and facilities were evaluated as predictors of performance adequacy. Adjusting for site, intervention assignment (CPR-only or CPR + AED), and time since initial training, volunteer characteristics associated with adequate CPR performance were age (OR 0.78 per 10-year increment), male sex (OR 1.44), minority (OR 0.62), married (OR 1.35), prior emergency experience (OR 1.66), prior CPR class (OR 1.68), prior advanced training (OR 1.59), and extracurricular CPR training (OR 1.91) (all P < .05). Characteristics associated with AED performance included age (OR 0.69), college education (OR 1.34), and native language other than English (OR 0.51) (all P < .05).
Conclusions: Certain subgroups of lay volunteers may need targeted outreach programs in CPR and AED use, classes with longer training time, more practice, or more intense retraining to maintain their CPR and/or AED skills.