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Original Research

Open Access

Challenges in basic life support and automated external defibrillator training of deaf individuals

  • Matej Strnad1,2,3
  • Zdenko Šalda4,5
  • Boštjan Jerko6
  • Vida Vrečar1
  • Vesna Borovnik Lesjak1
  • Rok Petrovčič2

1Center for Emergency Medicine, Prehospital unit, Community healthcare center, Cesta proletarskih brigad 21, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia

2Emergency department, University Medical Center Maribor, Ljubljanska ul. 5, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia

3Department of Emergency Medicine, Medical faculty, University of Maribor, Taborska 8, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia

4Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Novo Mesto, Na Loko 2, 8000 Novo mesto, Slovenia

5Community Health Center Trebnje, Golijev trg 3, 8210 Trebnje, Slovenia

6Japina LLC, Ravnik 31, 8232 Šentrupert, Slovenia

DOI: 10.22514/sv.2021.019 Vol.17,Issue 2,March 2021 pp.98-103

Published: 08 March 2021

*Corresponding Author(s): Matej Strnad E-mail:


Objectives: Basic life support (BLS) with the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) is linked to survival of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). However, the BLS protocol is not tailored to specific needs of the deaf who encounter many challenges during BLS training.

Methods: The BLS and AED protocol was modified according to the challenges faced by deaf people. Pre-course BLS and AED knowledge was tested using a questionnaire. After completion of a practical course, each participant was presented with an OHCA scenario using a manikin. Qualitative and quantitative data on BLS and AED performance were collected with a modified Cardiff test and the QCPR mobile application. Results of the knowledge test and performance scores are presented with values and frequencies. Correlations between pre- and post-course BLS and AED knowledge and performance were analyzed and presented with Spearman’s rho.

Results: 51 deaf volunteers from seven Slovenian deaf associations participated in the study. The pre-course knowledge test scores were 3.5 points out of 10 and considered low. The rest of the results were also poor. BLS performance using the modified Cardiff test post-course was as follows: 52.9% of the participants used a safe approach, 58.8% checked responsiveness and 51.0% sent a text message to the rescue service. Only 43.1% opened the airway and 49.0% checked initial breathing. 80.4% of deaf rescuers performed chest compressions on the lower half of the sternum and 52.9% compressed with adequate depth. According to the QCPR application the best performance was achieved with a compression score of 61.1% and flow fraction 74.9%.

Conclusions: This study shows that a comprehensive and assiduous approach is needed for effective BLS and AED training courses for deaf individuals.


Automated external defibrillator; Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Deafness; Education

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Matej Strnad,Zdenko Šalda,Boštjan Jerko,Vida Vrečar,Vesna Borovnik Lesjak,Rok Petrovčič. Challenges in basic life support and automated external defibrillator training of deaf individuals. Signa Vitae. 2021. 17(2);98-103.


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