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October 28, 1992

Emergency Cardiac Care The Science Behind the Art

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester.

JAMA. 1992;268(16):2296-2297. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490160166033

At the very birth of medicine as a rational endeavor, the centrality of the scientific method was firmly established. In the Hippocratic writings, we are told of the conditions necessary for the proper conduct of medicine: "There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance."1 The art (the technē) of medicine is characterized in the same passage as the use made of that knowledge in the light of accumulated clinical experience, so that "rashness indicates want of art." In harmony with these concepts and underscoring their importance, the 1992 National Conference on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Emergency Cardiac Care (ECC) grades its recommendations according to the merit of the scientific evidence that led to them. Rules of evidence were delineated by the ECC Committee of the American Heart Association (AHA) that were used to evaluate the merit of the scientific data.2(p2174)