“Thirty-minute CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) classes can be just as effective as a half-day course, a study in the journal Resuscitation finds.

A team at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas found that a 30-minute, video-based CPR training session was as successful as a traditional three- to four-hour class in teaching basic lifesaving skills to people.

Even six months after the classes, the 300 participants who took the shorter session were able to perform CPR and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) as well or better than those who took the longer course. The short-course students were also more likely to call 911, as they should, and use proper ventilation technique.

The difference may lie in the fact that the shorter courses involved more hands-on learning.

In a traditional four-hour course, there is one instructor and mannequin for every six to eight people, allowing little time for individuals to practise CPR. In the 30-minute course, participants watched a 23-minute DVD while practising CPR on their own mannequin. There was one facilitator for a group of 30, who was are available to answer questions.

The short course included only five minutes of defibrillator training, but follow-up research showed that was all people needed.

The research is important, the American Heart Association said in a statement, because the number one reason people cite for not learning CPR is the time required, followed by the cost.

The results also show that CPR is more of a so-called psychomotor skill requiring muscle memory — “like riding a bike,” said study senior investigator Dr. Ahamed Idris, a University of Texas emergency physician.”

Reference: CTV News. Updated Tue. Aug. 28 2007 11:26 AM ET