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January 19, 2005

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in the Real World: When Will the Guidelines Get the Message?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Emergency Medicine (Dr Sanders) and Department of Medicine, Arizona Sarver Heart Center (Dr Ewy), University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson.

JAMA. 2005;293(3):363-365. doi:10.1001/jama.293.3.363

The Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC)1 are probably the most widely implemented and best-known guidelines in medicine. In the setting of cardiac arrest, health care professionals want and need simple, practical, and effective guidelines. As the American Heart Association (AHA) and International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) revise their Consensus on Science and Treatment Guidelines in 2005, it is imperative to assess how these guidelines are developed. Despite the major reassessment and publication of new CPR and ECC guidelines every 5 to 8 years for the past 3 decades, survival from cardiac arrest remains dismal.2 Have the guidelines and guideline development process improved or compromised the treatment of patients in cardiac arrest? Do they reflect the reality of cardiac arrest treatment? Are they responsive, or impenetrable, to new ideas and concepts in ECC? Are there ways to improve the guidelines process and, therefore, the guidelines themselves?

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