Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the journal for the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM).

Early recognition and treatment of are known to improve survival for victims.

A team of Turkish specialists put together the study, which reviewed educational videos from the last three years accessed via YouTube when the search terms "CPR", "", "BLS" and "basic life support" were entered.

Of the many thousands of videos produced by these , most were excluded for a variety of reasons, including being irrelevant, being recorded in languages other than English and being accompanied by advertisements.

A total of 209 videos were eventually analysed.

Only 11.5% of the analysed videos were found to be completely compatible with 2010 CPR guidelines with regard to sequence of interviews.

"Although well-designed videos can create awareness and be useful as tools in training, they can never replace hands-on instruction from a properly qualified health practitioner," said Associate Professor Paul Middleton, Fellow of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) and Chair of the Australian Resuscitation Council NSW.

"People wanting to learn CPR and BLS skills should seek out a properly accredited training course."

Associate Professor Paul Middleton indicated that a few videos were available via YouTube which provided generally competent educational advice on how to perform CPR and basic life support, but finding them is not easy and very few could genuinely be regarded as perfect in teaching basic life support and CPR.

More information: Yaylaci, S., Serinken, M., Eken, C., Karcioglu, O., Yilmaz, A., Elicabuk, H. and Dal, O. (2014), Are YouTube videos accurate and reliable on basic life support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation?. Emergency Medicine Australasia. DOI: 10.1111/1742-6723.12274

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