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Methods of assessing cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills: a systematic review

Mäkinen, Marjaa; Niemi-Murola, Leilab; Mäkelä, Marjukkac; Castren, Maaretafor the ECCE Study Group

European Journal of Emergency Medicine: April 2007 - Volume 14 - Issue 2 - p 108-114
doi: 10.1097/MEJ.0b013e328013dc02

Valid and reliable instruments are needed for assessment and comparison of training outcomes after various methods of cardiopulmonary resuscitation training. Trials were retrieved by searching MEDLINE (1990–February 2005) and using the reference lists of original communications and reviews. Studies were considered relevant if they included an intervention, a study population of life support providers randomized and divided into groups and an evaluation or assessment of the performance. The studies were analyzed and scored to assess their validity. Twenty-five studies fulfilled the criteria. Nineteen of them assessed cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills, four cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation and two assessed defibrillation only. The mean number of participants was 107 (range 36–495). A wide variety of assessment methods were used in the studies with methodological shortcomings. Most studies in this review compared participants with each other, not against a standard or a defined passing level. Qualified studies with well defined study populations, standardized study settings and explicit, comparable outcomes would be needed to assess the quality of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation performance.

aUusimaa Emergency Medical Service, Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Helsinki University Hospital

bDepartment of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Helsinki University Hospital

cFinnish Office for Health Technology Assessment (FinOHTA), Helsinki, Finland

Correspondence and requests for reprints to Dr Leila Niemi-Murola, PhD, Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Helsinki University Hospital, PO Box 340, FIN-00029 HUS, Finland

Tel: +358 50 427 1782; fax: +358 9471 74017; e-mail:

Received 3 February 2006 Accepted 24 July 2006

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.