Students' knowledge of symptoms and risk factors of potential life-threatening medical conditions
Swiss Medical Weekly
In order to assess medical students' knowledge of Basic Life Support (BLS) principles, we defined a minimal knowledge (MK) of three life-threatening medical conditions that should be universally known: cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke, and compared the results with those of laypersons. Before participating in a BLS course, 406 medical students and 101 laypersons completed an MK questionnaire. Additional data were collected on participants' gender, age, education, medical education,
... al education, personal experience with the condition and successful completion of a BLS course. The mean proportion of correct answers was 48.1% for medical students and 34.3% for laypersons (P <0.001). No participant achieved a MK level of 100%. Multivariable analysis showed that medical background +14.8% MK (P <0.001), successful completion of a BLS course +4.4% MK (P = 0.004), and personal experience of the condition +3.2% MK (P = 0.013) significantly enhanced the MK percentage. Interaction analysis suggested that there were no exponential effects of higher education and medical background, or medical background and a completed BLS course. Among medical students and laypersons there is a significant lack of knowledge regarding the typical signs and risk factors associated with serious medical conditions. Within the current study, participants with direct experience of these conditions exhibited marginally improved knowledge compared to others, indicating a wide gap in the general public's knowledge. There is an urgent need to establish learning objectives in order to encourage students to complete BLS courses during their education.