Purpose of the study: In-hospital cardiac arrest is a major problem within European countries and their health care systems with a tremendous burden on resources. Improvements of survival of patients after cardiac arrest are non-satisfying over the last years. One reason might be failure in recognizing early warning signs of possible cardiac arrest resulting in more cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in order to save the patient’s life. The purpose of this study was to assess and compare health care professionals’ knowledge on CPR among 12 European countries. Materials and methods: At European university hospitals in Italy, Poland, Hungary, Belgium, Spain, Slovakia, Germany, Finland, Netherlands, Switzerland, France and Greece, 570 health care professionals from cardiology, anesthesiology and intensive care medicine departments completed a questionnaire. Questions covered epidemiology data (12) while total score on CPR knowledge was defined as Basic Life Support (BLS, 10 multiple choice questions), ischemic stroke (3) and Advanced Life Support (ALS, 13 questions). Each participant was given 20 minutes to answer the questionnaire. Non parametric Kruskal Wallis test analyzed differences. Values are expressed as median (interquartile range). A p<0.05 was considered as significant. Results: Differences were found among countries in all categories. Hospitals in Switzerland scored highest on BLS with 8 out of 10 (7-8) correct answers (p=0.005), Belgium hospitals scored highest on ALS with 10 correct answers out of 13 questions (9-11, p<0.0001) and total score with 19 correct answers out of 26 questions (17-21, p=0.011). The Swiss hospitals scored highest in education with 2 (1-3) different CPR courses per participant (p<0.0001). Conclusion: The results from Swiss and Belgium hospitals demonstrate that effective educational standards on CPR result in high CPR knowledge. If translation of these results improve patients outcome in different European countries with their differences in health care needs to be assessed in the future.
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