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J Grad Med Educ. 2011 Jun;3(2):211-6. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-10-00144.1.

Progress toward improving the quality of cardiac arrest medical team responses at an academic teaching hospital.



Internal medicine (IM) residents who undergo simulation-based advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) training are significantly more likely to manage actual events according to American Heart Association (AHA) standards than nontrained residents. How long ACLS skills are retained is unknown.


We conducted a retrospective case-control study of ACLS responses from January to June 2008 and reviewed medical records to assess adherence to AHA standards. Cases and controls are team responses to ACLS events divided into those directed by postgraduate year 2 (PGY-2) IM resident leaders versus those managed by PGY-3 IM resident leaders. Residents in 2008 completed an educational program featuring deliberate practice in ACLS using a human patient simulator during their second year. Medical records of ACLS events were reviewed to assess adherence to AHA guidelines. We evaluated the effects of simulation training on quality of ACLS care during the 2008 period and in comparison with historical 2004 data.


In 2008, 1 year after simulation training, PGY-3 residents showed the same adherence to AHA standards (88% [SD, 17%]) as that of PGY-2 residents who were newly simulator trained (86% [SD, 18%]) (P  =  .77). Previously, in 2004, PGY-2 simulator-trained residents showed significantly higher adherence to AHA standards (68% [SD, 20%]) than nonsimulator-trained PGY-3 residents (44% [SD, 20%]) (P < .001). All resident groups in 2008 outperformed their 2004 peers.


Improved quality of ACLS care was maintained by 2008 PGY-3 simulator-trained residents 1 year after training, likely due to skill retention rather than increased clinical experience, as a prior cohort of PGY-3 residents did not perform as well as PGY-2 residents in actual ACLS care. Our results confirm prior work regarding the impact of simulation-based education to improve the quality of actual patient care.

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