Early bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is essential for survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Young people are potentially important bystander CPR providers, as basic life support (BLS) training can be distributed widely as part of the school curriculum.
Questionnaires were distributed to nine secondary schools in North Norway, and 376 respondents (age 16-19 years) were included. The completed questionnaires were statistically analysed to assess CPR knowledge and attitude to performing bystander CPR.
Theoretical knowledge of handling an apparently unresponsive adult person was high, and 90% knew the national medical emergency telephone number (113). The majority (83%) was willing to perform bystander CPR in a given situation with cardiac arrest. However, when presented with realistic hypothetical cardiac arrest scenarios, the option to provide full BLS was less frequently chosen, to e.g. a family member (74%), a child (67%) or an intravenous drug user (18%). Students with BLS training in school and self-reported confidence in their own BLS skills reported stronger willingness to perform BLS. 8% had personally witnessed a cardiac arrest, and among these 16% had performed full BLS. Most students (86%) supported mandatory BLS training in school, and three out of four wanted to receive additional training.
Young Norwegians are motivated to perform bystander CPR, but barriers are still seen when more detailed cardiac arrest scenarios are presented. By providing students with good quality BLS training in school, the upcoming generation in Norway may strengthen the first part of the chain of survival in OHCA.