CPR can be taught in 20 minutes

AP Wire | 11/13/2005 | Research shows 20-minute CPR class works (requires annoying but free registration)

Research shows 20-minute CPR class works

DALLAS – Too busy to take a four-hour CPR course? New research shows the lifesaving procedure can be effectively taught in a little more than 20 minutes.

The finding, presented Sunday at an American Heart Association meeting in Dallas, could broadly expand the number of Americans who can perform CPR.

The study, led by Dr. Ahamed Idris, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, found that just five minutes of training on defibrillator use and 20 minutes of instruction in CPR was as effective as the standard four-hour course.

The study used American Airlines employees and compared standard training to a short course taught by DVD. Participants were tested by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a computerized mannequin that took data on chest compression and ventilation. Their performance was also reviewed and graded by instructors.

The 150 people who took the short course did as well or better than the 118 who received standard training. More importantly, retention rates of knowledge remained similar six months later.

This is terrific, and I truly wish CPR were taught in High School health classes for everyone. The vast majority of people don’t need or want a ‘certification’ in CPR, they just want to know how to do it. Not to throw cold water on the hyperbole here, but the training video is 20 minutes long, but it’s left unstated how much time is spent on the mannequin.

I know CPR, but I have to for my profession. It’s occurred to me on more than one occasion that I’m the only one in my house with the knowledge, and with my luck it’ll be me who needs it.

Bring on the 20 minute training video! And make sure you can get it through NetFlix.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree. Everyone should learn CPR. Even the possibility of saving one life makes it worth the four-hour course, but now with just 20 minutes of instruction, there is no excuse. And it is now easier than ever for anyone to learn CPR with the assistance of the American Medical Association. See http://medsleuth.blogspot.com/2005/10/learn-cpr-at-home.html

  2. I remember taking a shortened class in Austin (worked at La Pettite at the time…NEVER again!). It was only 2 hours long, and was one of the very few in the state that were accepted as ‘intense’ training.

    My CPR card expired during our PCS, but hubby is constantly given ‘self aid/buddy care’ classes and CPR is one of the tennents of those classes. Along with the Heimlich…Oh, sorry…’life saving’ manuever.

    I highly recommend CPR and first aid classes for parents of young children, and teachers/educators as well. Blessedly I’ve never had to use it, but it’s comforting to know the information is in my brain (and the ‘cheat sheet’ is in my wallet) at all times.


  1. GruntDoc says:

    New CPR Recommendations

    More CPR news! A couple of weeks ago it was announced CPR could be taught more quickly and effectively, and today the American Heart Association announced changes to the CPR recommendations that should make the actual performance of CPR easier:…