(HealthDay News) — Compared to patients with advanced cancer who were simply told about the likelihood of success with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), those who viewed a video of CPR were less likely to opt for its use, according to research published online Dec. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Angelo E. Volandes, M.D., M.P.H., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled study involving 150 patients (mean age, 62 years) with advanced cancer. Patients either listened to a verbal description of CPR and the likelihood of successful resuscitation (80 patients) or an identical narrative accompanied by a three-minute video (70 patients).

The researchers found that 48 percent of patients in the control arm wanted CPR compared with only 20 percent of patients in the group that viewed the video (unadjusted odds ratio, 3.5). Patients in the video arm also demonstrated significantly higher mean knowledge scores. The vast majority of patients viewing the video (93 percent) were comfortable watching it.

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“Videos supplementing verbal discussions can improve understanding of medical interventions that are difficult to imagine using words. More work needs to be done to standardize and implement these tools across a range of diseases,” the authors write. “This trial suggests that videos are an important tool to enhance patients’ decision making by making sure patients understand CPR and are able to express their preferences at the end of life.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation.

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