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The influence of the media on COPD patients’ knowledge regarding cardiopulmonary resuscitation

Authors Nava S, Santoro C, Grassi M, Hill N

Published 6 June 2008 Volume 2008:3(2) Pages 295—300


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Stefano Nava1, Carmen Santoro1, Mario Grassi2, Nicholas Hill3

1Respiratory Unit, Fondazione S Maugeri, I R C C S Istituto Scientifico di Pavia, Pavia, Italy; 2Department of Health Sciences, Section of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy; 3Pulmonary and Critical Care Division, Tufts University, New England Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA

Background: The decision whether or not to undertake cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a major ethical challenge. Patient preferences may be influenced by multiple factors, including information given by the media.

Objectives: We wanted to assess whether patients’ knowledge about CPR survival and outcomes was related to presentation by the media.

Methods: 100 consecutive patients with COPD and chronic respiratory failure (CRF) and 100 patients at their first hospital admission for respiratory problems were enrolled. A questionnaire was administered to the patients seeking to ascertain their exposure to health information from the media, and to obtain their opinions on 1) the probability of survival after CPR, 2) the maximal length of time from collapse to CPR that allows a reasonable chance of survival, and 3) long-term outcomes of CPR survivors.

Results: The patients overestimated the success rate of CPR (63% of them estimated a hospital survival >40%), while the estimate of long-term outcome and timing of the procedure were more realistic. Bivariate correlations analysis showed significant correlation between the rate of correct responses and the viewing of educational television programs (p = 0.039), but not medical stories, reading of health-oriented newspapers, use of the internet, age, educational level, and the presence of CRF.

Conclusions: In conclusion, we have shown that both COPD and “newly admitted” patients’ estimate of survival after CPR is much higher than reported by the current literature. A correct knowledge of CPR procedures and outcomes is significantly correlated with the exposure to “educational” medical TV programs, but not medical stories, newspapers, or internet sources.

Keywords: cardiopulmonary resuscitation, chronic respiratory failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, media, television

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