Background: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure that can increase survival after a cardiac arrest. Performing CPR effectively requires both procedural knowledge and manual skills. Traditional CPR training methodology includes lessons led by instructors and supervised practice on mannequins, thus requiring considerable resources.
Objective: This paper proposes a new methodology for low-cost CPR training based on virtual reality (VR) with and without the addition of a physical mannequin. Moreover, it describes an experimental evaluation of the methodology that assessed gain in manual skills during training, transfer of procedural knowledge and manual skills in a final assessment, and changes in self-efficacy with three measurements over time (pre-training, post-training, and post-assessment).
Methods: We implemented a VR application that supports the proposed methodology, and can thus be used with or without a mannequin. The experimental evaluation involved 30 participants who tried CPR in VR twice, performing two repetitions of 30 chest compressions per trial. Half participants tried the VR application with the mannequin and half without it. Final assessment required all participants to perform CPR on the mannequin without the assistance of VR. To assess self-efficacy, participants filled in a questionnaire at the three times of measurement.
Results: Mixed-design ANOVAs showed effects of repetition, effects of group, or interaction between the two variables on manual skills assessed during training. In the final assessment, participants in both groups correctly remembered most of the steps of the procedure. ANOVAs revealed differences between the two groups only in pressure-related skills (better with mannequin) and in the number of wrong steps added to the procedure (better without mannequin). Mixed-design ANOVA showed a self-efficacy increase in both groups after training, which was maintained after final assessment.
Conclusions: The proposed VR methodology for CPR training has a positive effect on procedural knowledge, manual skills, and self-efficacy, with as well as without the physical mannequin. Trials on a mannequin are required to understand the correct pressure for chest compression. This supports the adoption of the proposed VR methodology to reduce instructor and mannequin time required to teach CPR to trainees.
Keywords: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Experimental evaluation; Mannequin; Medical education; Training; Virtual reality.
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