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Int J Cardiol. 2019 Dec 1;296:76-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2019.07.016. Epub 2019 Jul 8.

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

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Department of Molecular Medicine, Section of Cardiology, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy; Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology and Experimental Cardiology, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy; Pavia nel Cuore, Pavia, Italy; Robbio nel Cuore, Robbio, Italy. Electronic address:
Pavia nel Cuore, Pavia, Italy; Robbio nel Cuore, Robbio, Italy; AREU Azienda Regionale Emergenza Urgenza-AAT Pavia c/o Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo Hospital, Pavia, Italy.
Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina - SISM, Pavia, Italy.
Srpska Medical Students' International Committee-SaMSIC, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Asociaţia Studenţilor şi Rezidenţilor în Medicină-ASRM, Chișinău, Republic of Moldova.
Association of Medical Students in Bulgaria-AMSB, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Georgian Medical Students Association-GMSA, Tbilisi, Georgia; David Tvildiani Medical University, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Federaţia Asociaţiilor Studenţilor în Medicină din România-FASMR, Bucharest, Romania.
Cyprus Medical Students' Association-CyMSA, Nicosia, Cyprus.
Ukrainian Medical Students' Association-UKRMSA, Kiev, Ukraine.
Austrian Medical Students' Associations-AMSA, Wien, Austria.
Association Nationale des Etudiants en Médecine de France-ANEMF, Montrouge, France.
Kosova's Organization of Medical Students-KOMS, Pristina, Kosovo.
Federación Española de Estudiantes de Medicina para la cooperación internacional-IFMSA Spain, Valladolid, Spain.
Malta Medical Students' Association-MMSA, Msida, Malta.
German Medical Students' Association-BVMD, Berlin, Germany.
Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University Hospital of Cologne, Köln, Germany; European Resuscitation Council, Niel, Belgium.



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.


An online survey was given to final-year students by the Medical Student Associations of different countries.


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.


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.


Cardiac arrest; Defibrillators; Medical students

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