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Lay basic life support: the current situation in a medium-sized German town
  1. Tim Piepho,
  2. Nora Resch,
  3. Florian Heid,
  4. Christian Werner,
  5. Ruediger R Noppens
  1. University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg-University, Department of Anaesthesiology, Mainz, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ruediger R Noppens, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg-University, Department of Anaesthesiology, Langenbeckstr. 1, 55131 Mainz, Germany; noppens{at}


Objective Basic life support (BLS) by laypersons is essential for surviving sudden cardiac death in the community. The present study investigates BLS skill knowledge of German laypersons in a public community place and examines the effect of the interval between the last BLS course and present skills in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Methods Participants were randomly recruited at a public place in a medium-sized German town. Volunteers were confronted with a fictitious cardiac arrest situation using a BLS training manikin and were asked to help. Using a standardised evaluation sheet, measures were documented. Participants' demographic data were evaluated after completion of the scenario.

Results None of the participants (n=89; male=42, female=47) followed the current BLS algorithm correctly; independent from the last CPR course was attended. Most steps were performed in random order. 43% (n=38) of participants checked for responsiveness, 65% (n=58) performed chest compressions, and 63% (n=56) delivered rescue breathing. 10% (n=9) of participants were unable to name a national emergency telephone number. Laypersons who attended a BLS course more than 10 years ago showed a significant lack of BLS knowledge and failed more often to deliver chest compressions and rescue breathing.

Conclusions The present study demonstrates that current CPR guidelines for BLS are not followed by laypersons in a medium-sized town in Germany. These data suggest that CPR refresher courses as well as implication of BLS guidelines in daily life are warranted.

  • ERC
  • Basic life support (BLS)
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • lay
  • ECG
  • training
  • education
  • nursing
  • prehospital
  • paramedics
  • effectiveness
  • resuscitation

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  • This manuscript contains parts of the doctoral thesis of NR, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.