DALLAS, TX--New survey findings released by the American Heart Association found that while nine out of 10 adults believe cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR will improve someone’s chance of surviving cardiac arrest, four out of every 10 would still not initiate the lifesaving technique.
More than 350,000 sudden cardiac arrests, or an abrupt loss of heart function in a person, occur outside of the hospital each year in the United States. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival. Yet less than half of all people who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital receive CPR.
“In order to improve survival rates, anyone who witnesses a teen or adult experiencing cardiac arrest should reach out to emergency responders by calling 911 and begin Hands-Only CPR,” said American Heart Association volunteer expert Anezi Uzendu, M.D., interventional cardiologist at Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City. “The data in this survey shows that most adults understand that CPR saves lives but identifies a real gap in the willingness to actually be the one to deliver the lifesaving assistance.”
The survey, funded in part through the generous support of the Anthem Foundation, was fielded by Decision Analyst on behalf of the American Heart Association, a global leader in resuscitation training. The study was conducted online in December of 2021 among 1,011 nationally representative U.S. men and women aged 18 to 80 and has a margin of error of +/- 3%.
Other key findings include:
- Only 25% of surveyed participants said they would always perform CPR to aid someone.
- Lack of training or knowledge on how to perform CPR was the number one reason why 60% of respondents said they would not perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with 3 in 10 also citing a fear of hurting someone or facing legal consequences.
- In addition, 25% of those surveyed had never heard of the Good Samaritan Law, which offers legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those who they believe to be injured or in peril.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has made 3 in 10 people less willing to perform CPR on someone.
- 78% of people surveyed agreed that CPR education should be offered to employees at worksites.
“The Anthem Foundation is proud to support the lifesaving work of the American Heart Association, particularly when it comes to advancing health equity as this survey tries to examine and help the Hands-only educational program address,” said Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., chief health officer at Anthem, Inc. “We have supported important initiatives like Hands-Only CPR educational outreach for several years – knowing that when more people are willing to perform CPR, the more lives will be saved.”
In October 2009, the American Heart Association launched the Hands-Only CPR campaign. The campaign has encouraged and taught people the two simple steps of Hands-Only CPR: when you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 9-1-1 and press hard and fast in the center of the chest. The American Heart Association has been tracking general awareness, attitudes and behavior related to Hands-Only CPR since 2009; however, due to the pandemic and ongoing socioeconomic changes, the entire survey instrument was redesigned, and a fresh round of tracking started in 2021. The survey measures consumer awareness of, perceptions of, confidence in performing, likelihood to perform, and reasons for hesitation in performing Hands-Only CPR.
To learn more about the Hands-Only CPR campaign and be prepared to save a life, visit heart.org/handsonlycpr.
SOURCE: American Heart Association