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Effect of Basic Prehospital Trauma Life Support Program on Cognitive and Trauma Management Skills

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We tested the effectiveness of a basic prehospital trauma life support (PHTLS) program by assessing cognitive performance and trauma management skills among prehospital trauma personnel. Fourteen subjects who completed a standard PHTLS course (group I) were compared to a matched group not completing a PHTLS program (group II). Cognitive performance was assessed on 50-item multiple choice examinations, and trauma skills management was assessed with four simulated trauma patients. Pre-PHTLS multiple choice questionnaire scores were similar (45.8 ± 9.4% vs. 48.8 ± 8.9% for groups I and II, respectively), but the post-PHTLS scores were higher in group I (80.4 ± 5.9%) than in group II (52.6 ± 4.9%). Pre-PHTLS simulated trauma patient performance scores (standardized to a maximum total of 20 for each station) were similar at all four stations for both groups, ranging from 7.9 to 10.4. The post-PHTLS scores were statistically significantly higher at all four stations for group I (range 16.0–19.0) compared to those for group II (range 8.0–11.1). The overall mean pre-PHTLS score for all four stations was 8.3 ± 2.1 for group I and 8.8 ± 2.0 (NS) for group II; the group I post-PHTLS mean score for the four stations was 17.1 ± 2.7 ( p < 0.05) compared to 9.1 ± 2.3 for group II. Pre-PHTLS Adherence to Priority scores on a scale of 1 to 7 were similar (1.1 ± 0.9 for group I and 1.2 ± 1.0 for group II). Post-PHTLS group I Priority scores increased to 5.9 ± 1.1. Group II (1.1 ± 1.0) did not improve their post-PHTLS scores. The pre-PHTLS Organized Approach scores in the simulated trauma patients on a scale of 1 to 5 were 2.1 ± 1.0 for group I and 1.9 ± 1.2 for group II (NS) compared to 4.2 ± 0.9 ( p < 0.05) in group I and 2.0 ± 0.8 in group II after PHTLS. This study demonstrates improved cognitive and trauma management skills performance among prehospital paramedical personnel who complete the basic PHTLS program.

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Ali, J., Adam, R., Josa, D. et al. Effect of Basic Prehospital Trauma Life Support Program on Cognitive and Trauma Management Skills. World J. Surg. 22, 1192–1196 (1998).

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