Introduction. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is influenced by the quality of basic life support (BLS). The primary objective of our study was to compare efficiency in the acquisition of BLS skills using conventional training and the 4-stage approach as a teaching method for BLS training.
Methods. In a prospective, randomised, 2-parallel group study, 266 first year medical students were randomised to either conventional training or the 4-stage approach using 2000 and 2005 ERC (European Resuscitation Council) guidelines. The students were tested immediately after receiving training. Three ERC-certified instructors assessed BLS skills using video recordings.
Results. The students who were taught according to the 4-stage approach using 2000 guidelines preformed significantly better in the following steps: calls for help (p<0.01), opens the airway (p<0.01), places hands for chest compression correctly (p<0.01) and performs chest compressions correctly (p<0.01), while using 2005 guidelines, only chest compression hand position improved significantly in the 4-stage teaching group (p<0.01).
Conclusions. The 4-stage approach improved the efficiency of several steps of the BLS algorithm and the ability to follow the algorithm in the correct sequence using 2000 ERC guidelines, while in students using the 2005 ERC guidelines only chest compression hand position improved significantly. Students who were taught according to 2000 ERC guidelines had significantly better hand position than students who were taught according to 2005 guidelines, independent of teaching method used.
Key words: basic life support, education, medical students, teaching method