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Resuscitation. 2009 Aug;80(8):849-53. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2009.04.035. Epub 2009 May 29.

Willingness to perform mouth-to-mouth ventilation by health care providers: a survey.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Montefiore University Hospital, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



During cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), mouth-to-mouth ventilation (MTM) is only effective if rescuers are willing to perform it.


To assess the degree of willingness or reluctance in performing MTM, a survey including 17 hypothetical scenarios was created. In each scenario health hazards for the rescuer needed to be balanced against the patient's need for MTM. Respondents were recruited from health care workers attending courses at a medical simulation center. Respondents reported their willingness or reluctance to perform MTM for each scenario using a 4 point scale.


The questionnaire had responses by 560 health care workers. Reluctance to perform MTM varied with the scenario. Some health care workers refused to ventilate patients who could benefit from MTM. In all scenarios even when resuscitation was both futile and potentially hazardous, some health care workers were willing to perform MTM. Age and level of experience tend to reduce the propensity to engage in MTM. Parental propensity to ventilate one's own child was stronger than any other motivator.


HIV infection is not the only condition for which rescuers hesitate to perform MTM. Bag-valve-mask devices for mechanical ventilation should be available in all locations where health care workers may be called upon to resuscitate apneic patients making the decision to perform MTM moot.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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