Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in Europe. High-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and guidelines compliance of rescuers have been associated with better outcomes after cardiac arrest. However, wide variability in attempting bystander CPR manoeuvres has been reported. Educational programmes for teaching CPR to medical students and fellows are highly advisable in this context. However, there is no homogeneity regarding the CPR education offered by academic institutions. We surveyed 208 Italian medical students and 162 fellows in cardiology regarding the educational offer and needs in CPR. Among the 11 medical schools surveyed, 8 (73%) offer basic (BLS) courses but only 3 (38%) with formal certification of 'BLS provider', while none offers advanced (ACLS/ALS) courses. Among the 30 specialization schools in cardiology surveyed, 10 (33%) offer a BLS course (6 with formal certification of 'BLS provider'), and 8 (27%) offer an ACLS/ALS course (5 with formal certification). Only a minority of students and fellows perceive themselves as highly proficient either in BLS or ACLS/ALS, although most of the fellows were involved at least once in rescuing a cardiac arrest. The present position paper analyses and suggests the strategies that should be adopted by Italian medical and specialization schools to spread the CPR culture and increase the long-standing retention of CPR-related technical and nontechnical skills.
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