The objective of this study was to evaluate retention of ALS knowledge and performance among anaesthesiologists, who, in Italy, respond to in-hospital emergencies as team leaders.
Methods: 47 anaesthesiologists (23 consultants and 24 residents) were invited at one weeks notice to attend a re-evaluation session, 6 months after successful completion of an ERC ALS course. Knowledge retention was assessed by a multiple choice question test, and skills and management by evaluation of performance as team leader in one of the six standardized CAStest scenarios. During the performance, the timeliness of first defibrillation, completion of the three shock sequence, adrenaline (epinephrine) administration and intubation were recorded. Results were compared between consultants and residents.
Results: Compared to the results at the end of the ALS course, the percent of correct answers to the multiple choice question test decreased from 85.89 +/- 5.28% to 79.45 +/- 6.62% (P < 0.001), the number of candidates achieving a pass performance decreased from 47/47 to 30/47 (P < 0.001). Time to first defibrillation was 73.38 +/- 18.72 s, time for completion of the third defibrillation was 113.04 +/- 35.58 s and subsequent ALS interventions were very delayed or forgotten. Comparison between consultants and residents showed that consultants retained knowledge information better, skills decreased comparably in both groups and residents performed tasks faster.
Conclusions: The significant decay of ALS skills 6 months post-ALS recorded among anaesthesiologists supports the need for periodical reinforcement during intervals before recertification.