Gender and age-specific aspects of awareness and knowledge in basic life support

Mario Krammel, Sebastian Schnaubelt, David Weidenauer, Markus Winnisch, Matthias Steininger, Jakob Eichelter, Thomas Hamp, Raphael van Tulder, Patrick Sulzgruber

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

40 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The 'chain of survival'-including early call for help, early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation-represents the most beneficial approach for favourable patient outcome after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Despite increasing numbers of publicly accessible automated external defibrillators (AED) and interventions to increase public awareness for basic life support (BLS), the number of their use in real-life emergency situations remains low.

METHODS: In this prospective population-based cross-sectional study, a total of 501 registered inhabitants of Vienna (Austria) were randomly approached via telephone calls between 08/2014 and 09/2014 and invited to answer a standardized questionnaire in order to identify public knowledge and awareness of BLS and AED-use.

RESULTS: We found that more than 52 percent of participants would presume OHCA correctly and would properly initiate BLS attempts. Of alarming importance, only 33 percent reported that they would be willing to perform CPR and 50 percent would use an AED device. There was a significantly lower willingness to initiate BLS attempts (male: 40% vs. female: 25%; OR: 2.03 [95%CI: 1.39-2.98]; p<0.001) and to use an AED device (male: 58% vs. female: 44%; OR: 1.76 [95%CI: 1.26-2.53]; p = 0.002) in questioned female individuals compared to their male counterparts. Interestingly, we observed a strongly decreasing level of knowledge and willingness for BLS attempts (-14%; OR: 0.72 [95%CI: 0.57-0.92]; p = 0.027) and AED-use (-19%; OR: 0.68 [95%CI: 0.54-0.85]; p = 0.001) with increasing age.

CONCLUSION: We found an overall poor knowledge and awareness concerning BLS and the use of AEDs among the Viennese population. Both female and elderly participants reported the lowest willingness to perform BLS and use an AED in case of OHCA. Specially tailored programs to increase awareness and willingness among both the female and elderly community need to be considered for future educational interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0198918
Pages (from-to)e0198918
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Aged
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/education
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Heart Arrest/epidemiology
  • Helping Behavior
  • Humans
  • Life Support Care/standards
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest/epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies


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