Comparison of the quality of basic life support provided by rescuers trained using the 2005 or 2010 ERC guidelines

Christopher M Jones, Andrew Owen, Christopher J Thorne, Jonathan Hulme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: Effective delivery of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and prompt defibrillation following sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is vital. Updated guidelines for adult basic life support (BLS) were published in 2010 by the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) in an effort to improve survival following SCA. There has been little assessment of the ability of rescuers to meet the standards outlined within these new guidelines.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of the performance of first year healthcare students trained and assessed using either the new 2010 ERC guidelines or their 2005 predecessor, within the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. All students were trained as lay rescuers during a standardised eight hour ERC-accredited adult BLS course.

RESULTS: We analysed the examination records of 1091 students. Of these, 561 were trained and assessed using the old 2005 ERC guidelines and 530 using the new 2010 guidelines. A significantly greater proportion of candidates failed in the new guideline group (16.04% vs. 11.05%; p < 0.05), reflecting a significantly greater proportion of lay-rescuers performing chest compressions at too fast a rate when trained and assessed with the 2010 rather than 2005 guidelines (6.04% vs. 2.67%; p < 0.05). Error rates for other skills did not differ between guideline groups.

CONCLUSIONS: The new ERC guidelines lead to a greater proportion of lay rescuers performing chest compressions at an erroneously fast rate and may therefore worsen BLS efficacy. Additional study is required in order to define the clinical impact of compressions performed to a greater depth and at too fast a rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53
JournalScandinavian journal of trauma, resuscitation and emergency medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Adolescent
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Emergency Responders
  • Female
  • Great Britain
  • Humans
  • Life Support Care
  • Male
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Rescue Work
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


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