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May 27, 2020

A Call to Include Death Disclosure Training Alongside Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training: After the Code

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Emory Palliative Care Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 4American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(8):864-865. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2020.1279

Today, more than 550 000 cardiac arrests occur each year in the United States—more than 1500 each day. Even long before such statistics were available, there was recognition of the need for training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was recommended in 1790 by the Paris Academy of Science, the first known use of chest compressions occurred in 1891, and the American Heart Association began publishing standardized guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation in 1966. Today, nearly all medical professionals serving adult patients have completed cardiopulmonary resuscitation training, such as the basic life support or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) courses offered by the American Heart Association, the advanced cardiovascular life support courses offered through the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, or the advanced life support courses certified by the European Resuscitation Council.