Background: Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is performed on only a small percentage of patients who suffer cardiac arrest. We conducted a study to elucidate attitudes toward and potential obstacles to performance of bystander CPR.
Methods: Attitude survey of 975 people on the University Heart Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, mailing list. Participants were asked about their willingness to perform CPR under four conditions, with varying relationships (stranger vs relative or friend) and CPR techniques (chest compressions plus mouth-to-mouth ventilation [CC+V] vs chest compressions alone [CC]).
Results: Participants rated willingness to perform CPR and concern about disease transmission. Both relationship and CPR technique affected willingness to respond. Only 15% would "definitely" provide CC+V with strangers compared with 68% who would "definitely" perform CC. Even with relatives or friends, only 74% would "definitely" provide CC+V compared with 88% who would "definitely" provide CC. Eighty-two percent of participants were at least "moderately" concerned about disease transmission.
Conclusion: Concerns regarding mouth-to-mouth ventilation appear to create substantial barriers to performance of bystander CPR. Intensified educational efforts and investigations of new approaches to bystander CPR are warranted.