Objective: To determine physicians’ knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), Jamaica, and their current certification status in basic life support (BLS), advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), Paediatric life support (PALS) and advanced trauma life support (ATLS).
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. A 23-item self-administered questionnaire was used to assess physicians practising at the UHWI, from the Departments of Anaesthesia, Surgery, Internal Medicine, Accident and Emergency, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Oncology.
Results: One hundred and forty-three (65%) of the targeted 220 physicians responded. There were 77 (55%) females and 41% of respondents were between ages 26 and 30 years. Knowledge of CPR guidelines was inadequate, as the median score obtained was 4.0 (interquartile range [IQR] 2-5] out of a possible eight. Physician seniority was inversely related to knowledge scores (p < 0.01). While 86% of all respondent physicians had been trained in BLS, only 46% were certified at the time of the study. Fewer (52%) were trained in ACLS with only 36% currently certified. Only 65% had been trained in the use of a defibrillator. Most knew the correct compression rate (78%), but only 46% knew the compressions to breaths ratio for both single and two-rescuer CPR. Only 42% of anaesthetists and 27% of emergency physicians were currently ACLS certified.
Conclusion: Physician knowledge of CPR protocols was suboptimal and current certification levels were low. Increased training and recertification is necessary to improve physician knowledge which is expected to result in improved performance of CPR.