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Resuscitation. 2000 May;44(3):195-201.

Checking the carotid pulse: diagnostic accuracy in students of the healthcare professions.

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Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.


This study evaluated the competence of students of the healthcare professions to locate the carotid pulse using a computerised manikin, within 10 s. A sample of 105 students from physiotherapy, radiography, midwifery and nursing participated in measuring diagnostic accuracy in a single attempt at pulse check using a computerised manikin, timed to an accuracy of +/-1 s. All had received basic life support instruction, and one group had advanced life support skills. The mode and median diagnostic delays were calculated for each group. Comparisons of mean rank values for the groups were determined, and comparisons of previous training and accuracy in diagnosis were calculated. Forty (38%) students were able to give an accurate diagnosis within 10 s. The results identified significant differences between the performance of the groups (chi(2) 16.74, P<0.01), with the advanced life support course students demonstrating most competence. Previous training did not affect performance in the skill (chi(2) 0.29, P=0.58). Carotid pulse check skills should be emphasised and tested as part of cardiopulmonary resuscitation instruction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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