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Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2010 Jan 14;18:3. doi: 10.1186/1757-7241-18-3.

Advanced Cardiac Resuscitation Evaluation (ACRE): a randomised single-blind controlled trial of peer-led vs. expert-led advanced resuscitation training.

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Emergency Department, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK.



Advanced resuscitation skills training is an important and enjoyable part of medical training, but requires small group instruction to ensure active participation of all students. Increases in student numbers have made this increasingly difficult to achieve.


A single-blind randomised controlled trial of peer-led vs. expert-led resuscitation training was performed using a group of sixth-year medical students as peer instructors. The expert instructors were a senior and a middle grade doctor, and a nurse who is an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Instructor.A power calculation showed that the trial would have a greater than 90% chance of rejecting the null hypothesis (that expert-led groups performed 20% better than peer-led groups) if that were the true situation. Secondary outcome measures were the proportion of High Pass grades in each groups and safety incidents.The peer instructors designed and delivered their own course material. To ensure safety, the peer-led groups used modified defibrillators that could deliver only low-energy shocks.Blinded assessment was conducted using an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). The checklist items were based on International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) guidelines using Ebel standard-setting methods that emphasised patient and staff safety and clinical effectiveness.The results were analysed using Exact methods, chi-squared and t-test.


A total of 132 students were randomised: 58 into the expert-led group, 74 into the peer-led group. 57/58 (98%) of students from the expert-led group achieved a Pass compared to 72/74 (97%) from the peer-led group: Exact statistics confirmed that it was very unlikely (p = 0.0001) that the expert-led group was 20% better than the peer-led group.There were no safety incidents, and High Pass grades were achieved by 64 (49%) of students: 33/58 (57%) from the expert-led group, 31/74 (42%) from the peer-led group. Exact statistics showed that the difference of 15% meant that it was possible that the expert-led teaching was 20% better at generating students with High Passes.


The key elements of advanced cardiac resuscitation can be safely and effectively taught to medical students in small groups by peer-instructors who have undergone basic medical education training.

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