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Awareness of CPR-induced consciousness by UK paramedics

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Objectives: Guidelines for the management of hospital cardiac arrest advocate minimally interrupted chest compressions in order to maintain cerebral perfusion pressures and improve the likelihood of a positive outcome. One condition that may lead to interruptions in the delivery of chest compressions is cardiopulmonary resuscitation induced consciousness (CPR-IC). This study investigates UK paramedics’ understanding of CPR-IC and how they came by their knowledge.

Methods: This study was a cross-sectional survey of paramedics who were registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and practising in the United Kingdom at the time of the survey. Participants completed an online survey; the first two sections are reported here. Section 1 asked for demographic data pertinent to the study outcomes and section 2 asked participants to explain what they understood about CPR-IC and the source of their information.

Results: A total of 293 eligible participants completed the survey. Most had over 5 years’ experience as a paramedic and declared no specialist clinical role. Over 50% of respondents said that they had heard of CPR-IC prior to the study and the majority of those provided an explanation that demonstrated some understanding when compared with the definition used by the study team. Over 40% of respondents became aware of CPR-IC after having witnessed it in clinical practice.

Conclusion: Nearly half of the study participants were not aware of CPR-IC, and few have had formal training on the phenomenon. There is a clear need for further education on CPR-IC in order for paramedics to better manage it when presented with it in practice.
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Keywords: cardiac arrest; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; consciousness; paramedic

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust 2: University of Wolverhampton 3: University of Worcester

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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