Study objective: We conducted a prospective, randomized, controlled trial to test the hypothesis that a 34-minute video self-instruction (VSI) training program for adult CPR would yield comparable or better CPR performance than the current community standard, the American Heart Association Heartsaver course.
Methods: Incoming freshman medical students were randomly assigned to VSI or the Heartsaver CPR course. Two to 6 months after training, we tested subjects to determine their ability to perform CPR in a simulated cardiac arrest setting. Blinded observers used explicit criteria to assess our primary outcome, CPR performance skill. In addition, we assessed secondary outcomes including sequential performance of individual skills, ventilation and chest compression characteristics, and written tests of CPR-related knowledge and attitudes.
Results: VSI trainees displayed superior overall performance compared with traditional trainees. Twenty of 47 traditional trainees (43%) were judged not competent in their performance of CPR, compared with only 8 of 42 VSI trainees (19%; absolute difference, 24%; 95% confidence interval, 5% to 42%).
Conclusion: In a group of incoming freshman medical students, we found that a half-hour of VSI resulted in superior overall CPR performance compared with that in traditional trainees. If validated by further research, VSI may provide a simple, quick, and inexpensive alternative to traditional CPR instruction for health care workers and, perhaps, the general population.