Engaging the Youth with Technology in CPR Education

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would counter the argument that education in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is very important; you would also struggle to find anyone in the healthcare field who would not counter you if you said you said you found the experience of becoming certified and re-certified exhilarating or “fun.”

Every year the AHA Resuscitation Symposium gathers minds from around the world, researchers dedicated to the advancement and promotion of advances related to CPR and traumatic injury. The areas of interest are vast, exciting, and enough to span two full days, arguably more, bringing people from all specialties and careers. It includes up and coming updates on intra-arrest monitoring, outcomes and also research in education and retention of CPR training.

One of the constant battles in training is getting CPR education taught in schools; fraught with barriers such as cost and time, and despite mandated legislation, not always successfully implemented (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training in Schools Following 8 Years of Mandating Legislation in Denmark: A Nationwide Survey)1. So what can we do to change this?


Make CPR training fun.

New areas of research and technology promise more realistic training; in exchange this can be more engaging. David Sarno and Dr. David Axelrod, a pediatric cardiologist at Stanford, are founders of Lighthaus Inc,2 who with the AHA, have developed VR (Virtual reality) CPR; the simulation takes VR equipment and recreates a real cardiac arrest victim, showing not only a more realistic interaction but demonstrating substantial improvement in students learning and reported more engaging and realistic learning.3


Use our youth to Teach CPR and teach them young.

Healthcare workers are not the only ones who can learn or teach CPR, this is not news; but how young is too young? Previous studies in Italy4 have shown success and understanding as early as primary school.

Children bring a level of excitement and offer a great module for not only testing new technology, but creating new technology. Eashan Biswa, son of UC Riverside cardiologist, Dr. Mimi Biswa, demonstrated this as a 6th grade science fair project. With support of  UC Riverside medical center and school district have they showed success teaching as young as 5th grade students CPR. They used traditional videos but also a video game developed by Eashan. They also demonstrated success in children retaining this knowledge and teaching their parents and community. You can read more about their story here: Kids as young as 12 should learn CPR.5


Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.

Repetition is important in CPR, as any skill, if you don’t use it you lose it. Virtual reality and early education offer great opportunities for retention and repetition and show an exciting step in the future of CPR education and learning, particularly in young kids and with opportunities for schools.

The future is bright; in order to continue to advance education of CPR we have to be creative, engage young minds, maybe even younger than previously thought, and work with new technology with the ultimate goal of continuing to spread knowledge to save lives.



  1. Malta Hansen C, Zinckernagel L, Ersbøll AK, et al. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training in Schools Following 8 Years of Mandating Legislation in Denmark: A Nationwide Survey. J Am Heart Assoc. 2017;6(3):e004128. Published 2017 Mar 14.
  2. (2019). Lighthaus. [online] Available at: https://www.lighthaus.us [Accessed 17 Nov. 2019].
  3. Gent L, Sarna D, Coppock K, Axelrod D. Successful Virtual Reality Cardiopulmonary Training in Schools: Digitally Linking a Physical Manikin to a Virtual Lifesaving Scenario. Circulation 2019 Nov 11. 2019;140(A396)
  4. Beeston, A. (2019). Kids as young as 12 should learn CPR. [online] Essential Kids. Available at: http://www.essentialkids.com.au/news/current-affairs/kids-as-young-as-12-should-learn-cpr-20171113-gzk2el [Accessed 17 Nov. 2019].
  5. Calicchia S, Cangiano G, Capanna S, De Rosa M, Papaleo B. Teaching Life-Saving Manoeuvres in Primary School. Biomed Res Int. 2016;2016:2647235.


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