Report of the US National First Aid Science Advisory Board - Evidence based first aid guidelines

TitleReport of the US National First Aid Science Advisory Board - Evidence based first aid guidelines
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsEpstein, JL, Markenson, D, Hamill, W
Conference NameWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention
Date Published09/2007
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Conference LocationPorto, Portugal
Other Numbers03-22

Context: The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Red Cross (ARC) co-founded the US National First Aid Science Advisory Board in order to review and evaluate the scientific literature on First Aid. The goals of the National First Aid Science Advisory Board are to reduce morbidity and mortality due to emergency events and to analyze the scientific evidence underlying first aid practice. Previous studies have noted the paucity of scientific evidence to support many interventions in pre-hospital emergency care. Many First Aid practices rest on an equally precarious scientific foundation.

Methods: United States Center for Disease Control morbidity data and First Aid texts were consulted, and a thorough review of published studies to identify and evaluate the scientific basis for First Aid recommendations was performed. The evidence review was conducted by a standardized and validated scientific evidence review process using a structured worksheet, group discussions, public comment and development of consensusZaritsky A, Morley P. (2005): The evidence evaluation process for the 2005 international consensus on cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care science with treatment Recommendations. Circulation, 112:III-128 - III-130..

Results: The review confirmed the paucity of scientific evidence on first aid subjects. Many of the recommendations have been made by extrapolation from the experience of healthcare professionals or evidence derived from healthcare settings. While the evidence was limited in certain cases previously held beliefs and techniques were both supported and in some cases refuted by the evidence.

Discussion/Implications: This scientific review will allow organizations and individuals who provide first training to highlight those procedures and approaches which are supported by the evidence. In addition techniques found to be either ineffective and in some case harmful can be removed. Lastly, it is important to recognize the limited evidence so that research can be undertaken and future guidelines can be based on a larger body of scientific evidence.

Learning Outcomes
  1. The participant will understand the need for a scientific review of first aid and the basis for this review
  2. The participate will be able to discuss the scientific review method used for development of the first aid guidelines
  3. The participant will comprehend the evidence based first aid guidelines developed and their implications
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