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Signa Vitae

Journal of Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine

Medical students perform basic life support skills in a simulated scenario better using a 4-stage teaching approach compared to conventional training


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

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Identification of lung sliding: a basic ultrasound technique with a steep learning curve


Introduction. One of the basic premises of sonographic lung imaging is the concept of lung sliding. Identification of clear lung sliding excludes pneumothorax (PTx) at that specific local point.
Methods. Fifty-seven 4th year medical students were given a 20-minute lecture on sonographic identification of lung sliding and exclusion of PTx. After the lecture, students were asked to correctly position the probe, identify shown structures and on each attempt (six attempts in a row) state whether lung sliding is present or not.
Results. There were 57 students in the sample. Fifty students (87.7%) successfully positioned the probe (all 4 positions) for PTx identification. All but five students (91.2%) recognized the anatomic structures of the thorax. Mean number of correctly identified cases per student was 5.1 ± 1.1. In 292 (85.4%) cases, the answer was correct. In 298 (87.1%) cases, students were confident in the correct answer. Students who were confident in the right answer gave the right answer significantly more often when compared to others (90.3% vs. 52.3%, p < 0.001). Sensitivity of this method for 4th year medical students was 82.6% and its specificity was 87.9%. For correct identification of lung sliding in the sixth attempt, students on average needed 4.5 correct attempts.
Conclusion. Our study suggests that 4th year medical students with no prior experience in lung ultrasonography can easily acquire knowledge and skills needed to detect thoracic wall structures and identify lung sliding with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity.

Key words: medical students, ultrasonography, pneumothorax

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A brief reeducation in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation after six months-the benefit from timely repetition


Objectives. Sudden cardiac death is a major cause of death in today’s world. During the minutes passing from the onset of cardiac arrest to the arrival of professional help, the cardiac arrest victim can only rely upon cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) provided by educated bystanders. Our aim was to explore the possibility of whether a short and affordable course of CPR reeducation could have a significant effect on skills retention and quality of CPR delivered.
Methods. We performed a prospective randomized study that included 72 first and second year medical students who had no clinical experience and no prior training in CPR. Subjects were educated in CPR in accordance with a standardized CPR education protocol. Six months later, half of the studied group (randomly chosen) underwent short reeducation in CPR. One year after initial education they were all tested for CPR skills. The results were printed and filmed.
Results. Students who attended the short reeducation were significantly better in approaching the victim safely, in obtaining a clear airway and in checking the pulse of the victim.
Conclusions. A short and inexpensive course of reeducation, carried out six months after initial education, may render CPR performance more effective for the victim and safer for the rescuer.

Key words: medical education, resuscitation, medical students, basic life support

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