Final-year medical students' knowledge of cardiac arrest and CPR: We must do more!

Enrico Baldi, Enrico Contri, Alessandra Bailoni, Kristina Rendic, Valeria Turcan, Nikola Donchev, Ilia Nadareishvili, Ana Maria Petrica, Irene Yerolemidou, Anastasiia Petrenko, Johannes Franke, Gabrielle Labbe, Redon Jashari, Alba Pérez Dalí, Jordy Borg, Niklas Hertenberger, Bernd W. Böttiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Background: Students are an important part of the community response to an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). If even schoolchildren now know cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), even more the reason a young doctor should know how to treat an OHCA. The aim of our study was to assess medical students' knowledge of CPR and OHCA throughout Europe. Methods: An online survey was given to final-year students by the Medical Student Associations of different countries. Results: 1012 medical students from 99 different universities and 14 different countries completed the questionnaire. A total of 82.2% attended a BLS or BLS/AED course, provided by the University in only 69.7% of cases. In 84.3% it was a mandatory part of their degree. A total of 78.6% felt able to rescue a person in OHCA. Only 49.3% knew that ‘unresponsiveness’ and ‘absence of normal breathing’ are sufficient for lay people to identify an OHCA, and less than half of those interviewed knew the incidence of OHCA in Europe and the decrease in chance of survival if CPR is not performed. The correct compression:ventilation ratio was known by 90.2%, the correct compression depth by 69.7%, whilst only 57.8% knew the right compression rate. In total, 69.7% knew that an AED must be used immediately when available, and only 57.2% recognized the AED symbol. Conclusions: Medical students' knowledge of cardiac arrest and CPR needs to be improved throughout Europe and we believe that BLS/AED training should be mandatory in all European Universities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Cardiac arrest
  • Defibrillators
  • Medical students


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