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Resuscitation. 2007 Aug;74(2):276-85. Epub 2007 Apr 23.

Prospective, randomized trial of the effectiveness and retention of 30-min layperson training for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillators: The American Airlines Study.

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Department of Surgery/Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.



A head-to-head trial was conducted to compare laypersons' long-term retention of life-saving psychomotor and cognitive skills learned in the traditional multi-hour training format for basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator use to those learned in an abbreviated (30 min) course.


Laypersons were randomized to either: (1) the traditional multi-hour Heartsaver-Automated External Defibrillator (Heartsaver-AED) group; or (2) the 30-min course group (cardiopulmonary resuscitation, choking, and automated external defibrillator use). Immediately after training, and at 6 months, participants were provided identical individual testing scenarios. In addition to audio-video recordings, computerized recordings of compression rate/depth, ventilation rates, and related pauses were obtained and subsequently rated by blinded reviewers.


Performance following 30-min training was either equivalent or superior (p<0.007) to the multi-hour Heartsaver-Automated External Defibrillator training in all measurements, both immediately and 6 months after training. Although retention of certain skills deteriorated over the 6 months among a significant number of participants from both groups, 84% of the 30-min training group still was judged, overall, to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation adequately. Moreover, 93% still were performing chest compressions adequately and 93% continued to apply the automated external defibrillator and deliver shocks correctly.


Using innovative learning techniques, 30-min cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator training is as effective as traditional multi-hour courses, even after 6 months. Thirty-minute courses should decrease labor intensity, demands on resources, and time commitments for cardiopulmonary resuscitation courses, thus facilitating more widespread and frequent retraining.

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