Journal Mobile

R Campbell
Journal Issue: 
Volume 47: Issue 1: 2017



Since its introduction in the 1960s as a treatment to restart the heart after sudden cardiac arrest from a heart attack, attempts at cardiopulmonary resuscitation have become more common in other clinical situations. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation can be a lifesaving treatment, with the likelihood of recovery varying greatly depending on individual circumstances; however, overall, the proportion of people who survive following cardiopulmonary resuscitation is relatively low. Anticipatory decisions were recognised as being the best way of ensuring that cardiopulmonary resuscitation was not attempted against individuals’ wishes.

Since 2001, the British Medical Association, Resuscitation Council (UK) and Royal College of Nursing have published professional guidance on decisions relating to cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The latest version of this guidance was published in June 2016. This paper summarises the key legal and ethical principles that should inform all cardiopulmonary resuscitation decisions, with particular emphasis on the recent changes in law and policy.