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Ann Emerg Med. 1995 Feb;25(2):198-202.

CPR instruction by videotape: results of a community project.

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Center for Evaluation of Emergency Medical Services, King County Department of Health, Seattle.



To increase the rate of bystander CPR in a community by use of a free, mailed, 10-minute videotape of CPR instruction.


Prospective, randomized intervention trial. One half of the households (8,659) received the free videotape (video-tape group) and were considered the intervention group, and one half (8,659) served as the control (no-videotape group). All households were followed from December 1991 to March 1993 to determine whether a cardiac arrest occurred and who initiated CPR. A telephone interview obtained additional information about circumstances of the arrest and whether members of the household viewed the videotape.


City of Everett and South Snohomish County, Washington. A commercial mailing list was used to identify 17,318 households with a head of the household who was more than 50 years old.


A case was defined as a cardiac arrest in which CPR was initiated or continued by emergency medical services personnel. Only cardiac arrests due to presumed underlying heart disease were included. Arrests occurring after arrival of emergency medical services personnel were not included.


The intervention was a free 10-minute videotape with CPR instructions mailed to the 8,659 intervention households. Paramedic run reports were reviewed and interviews were conducted with cardiac arrest bystanders to determine who initiated CPR and whether they had received and viewed the videotape.


Sixty-five cardiac arrests occurred in the study households: 31 in households that received the videotape and 34 in households that did not review the videotape. The overall rate of bystander CPR was 47% in the videotape group and 53% in the no-videotape group (P = NS). In nine cardiac arrests, an individual was present who had watched the videotape; six of these nine cases (66%) had bystander CPR.


Mass mailings of CPR instructional videos are likely to be ineffective in increasing the rate of bystander CPR in a community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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