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Basic life support and anaphylaxis: awareness in the ophthalmology department

Poster Details

First Author: J.Hyer UK

Co Author(s):    N. Nelligan   K. Loxton   E. Posner              

Abstract Details


Medical and paramedical staff working in a hospital are required to be competent to perform Basic Life Support (BLS). We have a civic and professional responsibility to ensure we can provide the first key steps to improve the chances of survival following cardiac arrest. Anaphylaxis is a recognised adverse reaction to fluorescein during retinal angiography, and although moderate and severe reactions are infrequent (1%), they can be life threatening. This pilot study was designed to explore the level of knowledge of Basic Life Support (BLS) and anaphylaxis amongst members of the ophthalmology department in a London hospital.


London teaching hospital ophthalmology department.


A cross-sectional study was conducted on all members of the ophthalmology department using a paper-based questionnaire in November 2014. Data were collected on demographics, experience and perceived need for further training. Questions were based on BLS and anaphylaxis guidelines (Resuscitation Council, 2010).


In total, 18 questionnaires were completed: 17% nurses/nursing assistants; 22% junior doctors; 17% Consultants; 22% orthoptists/optometrists; 22% other (medical students, admin). Only 50% of respondents felt confident in performing BLS and 44% reported training in the last year. The pass mark for the Resuscitation Council BLS course paper is 80%, and on this occasion only 11% (2 members) of the study group passed. Only 17% felt confident dealing with anaphylaxis. 83% were unable to distinguish the minor side effects of fluorescein from a moderate-severe reaction. 83% (15 respondents) wished to have further training in BLS and anaphylaxis.


This study identified inadequate knowledge of BLS and anaphylaxis guidelines amongst members of the ophthalmology department. Staff lacked confidence in their ability to manage these patients and expressed a need for further training. Retention of infrequent skills and out-dated information are likely contributory factors. This study is being expanded to include other hospital sites.

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