Quality of Basic Life Support – A Comparison between Medical Students and Paramedics
Dr. Maria Isabel K├Ârber,
Kerpenerstr. 62, 50936 K├Âln.
Introduction: Poor survival rates after cardiac arrest can partly be explained by poor basic life support skills in medical professionals.
Aim: This study aimed to assess quality of basic life support in medical students and paramedics.
Materials and Methods: We conducted a prospective observational study with 100 early medical students (group A), 100 late medical students (group B) and 100 paramedics (group C), performing a 20-minute basic life support simulation in teams of two. Average frequency and absolute number of chest compressions per minute (mean (┬▒SD)), chest decompression (millimetres of compression remaining, mean (┬▒SD)), hands-off-time (seconds/minute, mean (┬▒SD)), frequency of switching positions between ventilation and chest compression (per 20 minutes) and rate of sufficient compressions (depth =50mm) were assessed as quality parameters of CPR.
Results: In groups A, B and C the rates of sufficiently deep chest compressions were 56%, 42% and 52%, respectively, without significant differences. Male gender and real-life CPR experience were significantly associated with deeper chest compression. Frequency and number of chest compressions were within recommended goals in at least 96% of all groups. Remaining chest compressions were 6 mm (┬▒2), 6 mm (┬▒2) and 5 mm (┬▒2) with a significant difference between group A and C (p=0.017). Hands-off times were 6s/min (┬▒1), 5s/min (┬▒1) and 4s/min (┬▒1), which was significantly different across all three groups.
Conclusion: Overall, paramedics tended to show better quality of CPR compared to medical students. Though, chest compression depth as an important quality characteristic of CPR was insufficient in almost 50% of participants, even in well trained paramedics. Therefore, we suggest that an effort should be made to find better ways to educate health care professionals in BLS.