The retention of cardiopulmonary resuscitation
skills and the ideal frequency of retraining remain unanswered. This study investigated the retention of cardiopulmonary resuscitation
skills by medical students
for up to 42 months after training.
In a cross-sectional study, 205 medical students
received 10 hours of training in basic life support
in 3 practical classes, during their first semester at school. Then, they were divided into 4 groups, according to the time elapsed since the training: 73 after 1 month, 55 after 18 months, 41 after 30 months, and 36 after 42 months. Nineteen cardiopulmonary resuscitation
skills and 8 potential technical errors were evaluated by mannequin-based simulation and reviewed using filming.
The mean retention of the skills was 90% after 1 month, 74% after 18 months, 62% after 30 months, and 61% after 42 months (P
< 0.001). The depth of chest compressions had the greatest retention over time (87.8%), with no significant differences among groups. Compressions performed greater than 120 per minute were less likely to be done with adequate depth. Ventilation showed a progressive decrease in retention from 93% (n = 68) after 1 month to 19% (n = 7) after 42 months (P
< 0.001). All 205 students were able to turn the automated external defibrillator
on and deliver the shock.
The depth of chest compressions and the use of an automated external defibrillator
were the skills with the highest retention over time. Based on a skills retention prediction curve, we suggest that 18 to 24 months as the minimum retraining interval to maintain at least 70% of skills.