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Recognition of death and termination of cardiac resuscitation attempts by UK ambulance personnel
  1. A S Lockey
  1. Accident and Emergency Department, York District Hospital, York, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr A S Lockey, Accident and Emergency Department, Calderdale Royal Hospital, Salterhebble, Halifax, Yorkshire, UK;


Objectives: To identify whether the practice of the UK ambulance trusts comply with national recommendations with respect to when ambulance personnel are allowed to recognise death and/or terminate resuscitation attempts in the adult, normothermic, non-traumatic cardiac arrest.

Methods: Questionnaire study of 39 ambulance trusts.

Results: At the time of the study (summer 2000), 23 trusts operated separate policies for recognition of death and termination of resuscitation, two had policies for recognition of death alone, two had policies for termination of resuscitation alone, five operated a policy purely for termination of resuscitation attempts after a limited period of CPR, and seven had no protocols other than “the presence of rigor mortis, postmortem staining or injuries incompatible with life”. Only eight trusts conformed to the protocols for both recognition of death and termination of resuscitation attempts recommended by the Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee (JRCALC).

Conclusion: The JRCALC has proposed guidelines for recognition of death and terminating resuscitation attempts in the adult normothermic non-traumatic cardiac arrest. Despite this, there was still considerable variance in the practice of the UK ambulance trusts.

  • cardiac resuscitation
  • prehospital care

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