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Understanding Resuscitation Guidelines and Their Source… ILCOR

Where Do Our Resuscitation Guidelines Come From?

The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) was established in 1993 as a not-for-profit organization with a mission to put together and share international consensus statements or guidelines for resuscitation. The purpose of ILCOR is to:

“…identify and review international science and information relevant to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and emergency cardiovascular care (ECC) and to offer consensus on treatment recommendations” (Hazinski, Nolan, et al.).

Objectives of ILCOR

The objectives of ILCOR are to:

  • “Provide a forum for discussion and for coordination of all aspects of cardiopulmonary and cerebral resuscitation worldwide.
  • Foster scientific research in areas of resuscitation where there is a lack of data or where there is controversy.
  • Disseminate information on training and education in resuscitation.
  • Provide a mechanism for collecting, reviewing and sharing international scientific data on resuscitation.
  • Produce statements on specific issues related to resuscitation that reflect international consensus. (ILCOR, N.D.)”

International Breadth of Involvement

ILCOR has seven organizations as members that lead the regular process to review and grade scientific data on resuscitation, first aid, and treatment that has been published throughout the world. The organizations examine relevant data from thousands of published articles, grade and rank the articles based on their quality, and determine whether the new evidence is supportive, neutral, or opposing to existing evidence. The best new evidence is then compared to existing standards and ILCOR consensus statements are made to influence improvement of the current standards.

The seven member organizations represent distinct areas of the globe where differences exist in economic conditions, practice patterns, availability of medical equipment and drugs, and ease of training. Despite these differences, “All ILCOR member organizations are committed to minimizing international differences in resuscitation practice and to optimizing the effectiveness of resuscitation practice, instructional methods, teaching aids, and training networks” (Hazinski, Nolan, et al.). The member organizations are:

  • The American Heart Association
  • The European Resuscitation Council
  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
  • The Australian and New Zealand Committee on Resuscitation
  • The Resuscitation Council of South Africa
  • The InterAmerican Heart Foundation
  • The Resuscitation Council of Asia

These member organizations take the final ILCOR recommendations and tweak them as appropriate for their geography. For example, some 23% of deliveries in The Netherlands occur at home, and The European Resuscitation Council standards reflect this divergence from the international norm. ILCOR guidelines are updated every five years and are usually incorporated in the Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) curricula within one year of their release.

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