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Emerg Med J doi:10.1136/emermed-2012-201555
  • Original article

Assessment of knowledge and attitudes regarding automated external defibrillators and cardiopulmonary resuscitation among American University students

  1. Amer Z Aldeen2
  1. 1Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences, Evanston, Illinois, USA
  2. 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Brittany Bogle, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences, 2145 Sheridan Road, Room C210, Evanston, IL 60201, USA; brittanybogle{at}u.northwestern.edu
  • Accepted 20 September 2012
  • Published Online First 12 November 2012

Abstract

Aim We sought to quantify knowledge and attitudes regarding automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) among university students. We also aimed to determine awareness of the location of an actual AED on campus.

Methods We performed an online survey of undergraduate and graduate students at a mid-sized, private university that has 37 AEDs located throughout its two campuses.

Results 267 students responded to the survey. Almost all respondents could identify CPR (98.5%) and an AED (88.4%) from images, but only 46.1% and 18.4%, respectively, could indicate the basic mechanism of CPR and AEDs. About a quarter (28.1%) of respondents were comfortable using an AED without assistance, compared with 65.5% when offered assistance. Of those who did not feel comfortable, 87.7% indicated that they were ‘afraid of doing something wrong.’ One out of 6 (17.6%) respondents knew that a student centre had an AED, and only 2% could recall its precise location within the building. Most (66.3%) respondents indicated they would look for an AED near fire extinguishers, followed by the entrance of a building (19.6%).

Conclusions This study found that most students at an American university can identify CPR and AEDs, but do not understand their basic mechanisms of action or are willing to perform CPR or use AEDs unassisted. Recent CPR/AED training and 9-1-1 assistance increases comfort. The most common fear reported was incorrect CPR or AED use. Almost all students could not recall where an AED was located in a student centre.