Featured News Getting to the heart of CPR volunteers

Media Releases

Fri, 25 May 2018

Getting to the heart of CPR volunteers

Matthew Riggs poses in CPR chest compression position at a mannequin
Matthew Riggs demonstrates the correct hand position for CPR chest compressions. Photo: JCU Media

A James Cook University medical student has embarked on the first Australian study to put the general public’s CPR skills to the test and identify what spurs them to attempt the life-saving technique – and what deters them.

Matthew Riggs’ research project is one of only six studies in the world to determine the ability of the general public to perform CPR in an emergency situation.

His findings will have widespread implications for the estimated 20,000 Australians who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year.

Health statistics indicate that a bystander performing CPR more than doubles a victim’s chance of survival – yet around 60 percent of victims do not receive CPR.

“Anyone who decides to have a go, gives somebody a higher chance of surviving,” said Mr Riggs.

“It has nothing to do with how well they do it, how soon they do it, or how long they do it. They double the chance of survival just by performing CPR to the best of their ability until an ambulance arrives.”

Mr Riggs aims to recruit 300 people to test their CPR skills on manikins and also undertake a survey.

Participants will obtain immediate feedback on their efforts from a trained CPR assessor, as well as guidance on how to improve their performance.

“We want to ensure that we not only collect data, but also provide something to our participants,” Mr Riggs said. “We will try to improve their skills, and through this project, improve the community’s CPR capacity.”

Mr Riggs hopes that his research will help direct CPR education and training efforts.

“Once we know what factors are influencing CPR delivery, we can begin to target strategies to improve how well people can do CPR and CPR outcomes,” he said.

Those interested in participating in Mr Riggs’ CPR research sessions can do so at the following times and locations.

  • Saturday 26 May, 2 pm – 6 pm, Riverway Plaza (Rasmussen)
  • Sunday 27 May, 10am – 4 pm, Fairfield Central Shopping Centre
  • Saturday 2 June, 9 am – 4 pm, Stockland Shopping Centre (Aitkenvale)
  • Saturday 16 June, 8 am – 5 pm, Castle Town Shopping Centre (Woolcock St)