When someone collapses, people are often hesitant to act because they lack confidence or are reluctant to perform mouth-to mouth resuscitation on a stranger. But doing nothing can be disastrous, whereas no harm can be done by an untrained layperson who tries to help, Bobrow said.
For the study, 336 participants were randomly divided into four groups: a control group that did not watch a video and three other groups that watched either a 60-second video, a five-minute video or an eight-minute video that included the opportunity to practice the skills demonstrated.
To test their skills, participants were asked to role-play what they would do if someone suddenly collapsed in their presence. A manikin programmed with software was used to gauge the rate and depth of chest compressions.
When tested two months later, fewer than 1 percent of those who had seen a video did nothing, compared with 23 percent of those who had not seen a video. Among all who intervened, those who had seen a video demonstrated significantly better skills than those who had not, the study found. The length of the video viewed did not matter, and comparable chest compression rates and depths were achieved regardless of which video the participants had seen.
Their rate and depth of chest compressions closely approximated established criteria for effective CPR, and their skills had not deteriorated after two months, the study found.
Sayre noted, however, that the study measured performance during a simulation and that it remains to be seen what would happen in a real-life scenario.
"What we don't know is how this will
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