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January 30, 1978

Medical News

JAMA. 1978;239(5):391-400. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280320007001

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Laymen may outscore physicians in cardiopulmonary resuscitation  If you must have a heart attack, it might be better to do so on a Seattle street than elsewhere. It seems that many citizens of Seattle may be better trained at cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) than many interns and residents.This comparison is not entirely fair, but it is revealing. Well-trained laymen may in fact score higher on basic CPR skills than house officers in a teaching hospital. The physician in training may have been shortchanged on instruction in this basic medical skill.This suggestion (conclusion is too strong a term) came from a group of three papers presented at the recent meeting of the American Heart Association in Miami Beach. In turn, the papers made three major points:

  • Whatever the level of the rescuer's training, immediate CPR can double survival rate after ventricular fibrillation while lessening the neurological damage.