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Are Canadians more willing to provide chest-compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)?—a nation-wide public survey

  • Lindsay Cheskes (a1) (a2), Laurie J. Morrison (a1) (a3) (a4) (a5), Dorcas Beaton (a6) (a7), Janet Parsons (a8) (a9) and Katie N. Dainty (a1) (a3)...



Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) improves the likelihood of survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), yet it is performed in only 30% of cases. The 2010 guidelines promote chest-compression-only bystander CPR—a change intended to increase willingness to provide CPR.


1) To determine whether the Canadian general public is more willing to perform chest-compression-only CPR compared to traditional CPR; 2) to characterize public knowledge of OHCA; and 3) to identify barriers and facilitators to bystander CPR.


A 32-item survey assessing resuscitation knowledge, and willingness to provide CPR were disseminated in five Canadian regions. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize response distribution. Logistic regression analysis was applied to assess shifts in intention to provide CPR.


A total of 428 completed surveys were analysed. When presented with a scenario of being a bystander in an OHCA, a greater proportion of respondents were willing to provide chest-compression-only CPR compared to traditional CPR for all victims (61.5% v. 39.7%, p<0.001), when the victim was a stranger (55.1% v. 38.8%, p<0.001), or when the victim was an unkempt individual (47.9% v. 28.5%, p<0.001). When asked to describe an OHCA, 41.4% said the heart stopped beating, and 20.8% said it was a heart attack. Identified barriers and facilitators included fear of litigation and lack of skill confidence.


This study identified gaps in knowledge, which may impair the ability of bystanders to act in OHCA. Most respondents expressed greater willingness to provide chest-compression-only CPR, but this was mediated by victim characteristics, skill confidence, and recognition of a cardiac arrest.


Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Dr. Katie N. Dainty, Rescu, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, 30 Bond Street, Toronto, ON M5B 1W8; Email:


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