Danish campaign to increase public CPR training led to increased cardiac arrest survival rate

   A study by Mads Wissenberg, MD, Gentofte University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues showed that a nationwide effort in that country to increase the number of people trained in CPR led to an increase in bystander CPR and ultimately contributed to an increased cardiac arrest survival rate in Denmark.

   Over the past decade, several organizations have launched widespread efforts to train members of the general public in first aid, and in 2005 and 2006, Denmark began requiring elementary school students and people getting a driver’s license to be trained in CPR. At the same time, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were installed in more public and private locations throughout the country.

   Dr. Wissenberg’s study examined 29,000 Danish cardiac arrest cases, finding that the proportion in which a bystander performed CPR more than doubled from 20% in 2001 to 44% in 2010. The study also found that patients who were treated with CPR or automated external defibrillators (AEDs) by bystanders while awaiting emergency responders were about four times more likely to have survived 30 days than those who did not receive such assistance.