By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Scientific Sessions 2015 - Teen learning CPR

A one-time, 45-minute educational session on basic life support has the power to greatly improve middle school students’ CPR knowledge and skills, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015.

Researchers evaluated the use of a 45-minute basic life support class given to 41 eighth-grade students during a physical education class. The instructors taught students about chest compressions and automated external defibrillators (AED) use. Researchers also studied the effect of repeat education by giving half the students a repeat course two months later, but no such course for the others. They tested students’ CPR knowledge and retention before and right after the initial session, as well as two and four months later.

Researchers found a notable boost in CPR skills and knowledge when they compared students’ knowledge before and after the session. Students retained the information at two and four months after the initial session. And while researchers didn’t note a difference in knowledge between students who took the repeat course and those who didn’t, they did report AED usage was better in the repeat education group.

“If schools across the United States invested one 45- to 60-minute period a year for each school year, this would ensure widespread CPR and AED knowledge with minimal cost and loss of school time,” researchers said.