A survey of key opinion leaders on ethical resuscitation practices in 31 European Countries.

Mentzelopoulos, Spyros D; Bossaert, Leo; Raffay, Violetta; Askitopoulou, Helen; Perkins, Gavin D; Greif, Robert; Haywood, Kirstie; Van de Voorde, Patrick; Xanthos, Theodoros (2016). A survey of key opinion leaders on ethical resuscitation practices in 31 European Countries. Resuscitation, 100, pp. 11-17. Elsevier Science Ireland 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2015.12.010

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Europe is a patchwork of 47 countries with legal, cultural, religious, and economic differences. A prior study suggested variation in ethical resuscitation/end-of-life practices across Europe. This study aimed to determine whether this variation has evolved, and whether the application of ethical practices is associated with emergency care organisation.


A questionnaire covering four domains of resuscitation ethics was developed based on consensus: (A) Approaches to end-of-life care and family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation; (B) Determinants of access to best resuscitation and post-resuscitation care; (C) Diagnosis of death and organ donation (D) Emergency care organisation. The questionnaire was sent to representatives of 32 countries. Responses to 4-choice or 2-choice questions pertained to local legislation and common practice. Positive responses were graded by 1 and negative responses by 0; grades were reconfirmed/corrected by respondents from 31/32 countries (97%). For each resuscitation/end-of-life practice a subcomponent score was calculated by grades' summation. Subcomponent scores' summation resulted in domain total scores.


Data from 31 countries were analysed. Domains A, B, and D total scores exhibited substantial variation (respective total score ranges, 1-41, 0-19 and 9-32), suggesting variable interpretation and application of bioethical principles, and particularly of autonomy. Linear regression revealed a significant association between domain A and D total scores (adjusted r(2)=0.42, P<0.001).


According to key experts, ethical practices and emergency care still vary across Europe. There is need for harmonised legislation, and improved, education-based interpretation/application of bioethical principles. Better application of ethical practices may be associated with improved emergency care organisation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > Clinic and Policlinic for Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy

UniBE Contributor:

Greif, Robert


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Elsevier Science Ireland




Jeannie Wurz

Date Deposited:

22 Feb 2017 10:09

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:02

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Bioethics; Cardiac arrest; Emergency care; End of life care; Resuscitation





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