A course in cardiac advanced life support (CALS) has been funded for staff at the Bristol Heart Institute (BHI).

CALS is a resuscitation course designed to enhance the training and education of practitioners who are caring for patients in the period following cardiac surgery.

Staff at the CALS courseCardiac arrest following heart surgery occurs with an incidence of 0.7-2.9%, however the survival rate is significantly higher than that of traditional in-hospital cardiac arrest (79% compared with 18%). When cardiac arrest occurs in this post-operative period it is a specific clinical scenario in a specialised environment and as such the management of the patient requires a different approach compared with usual adult resuscitation.

The patient is often in the intensive care unit or high dependency unit, there are many more skilled staff members available, there is a wider range of possible therapies and chest re-opening is a standard part of resuscitation. This is an emergency situation in which prompt and decisive action can have a meaningful impact on the patient outcome.

These skills are not covered in traditional resuscitation courses and so the CALS course has been developed to train nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists, intensivists and other healthcare staff who may encounter this situation in the course of their clinical practice.

10 members of staff were trained to deliver the CALS course, meaning the BHI is now approved as a CALS centre of excellence and staff can run the training going forward.

Ursula McHugh, a Consultant in Cardiac Anaesthesia, said: "The manikin, funded by Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity, was at the centre of the teaching and the whole day was both enjoyable and educational and received excellent feedback.

"We have now trained 10 members of staff to be trainers on the course so that going forward we will be able to run it ourselves and get plenty of use out of the manikin.

"Thank you once again for the funding and the brilliant opportunity it has provided for the staff in cardiac intensive care and cardiac theatre, it has been massively appreciated."

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