2021 Resuscitation Guidelines

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Executive summary of the main changes since the 2015 Guidelines

An introduction to the 2021 Guidelines, including details of key changes.

Guidelines Process

Information about how the 2021 Guidelines were developed.


Guidelines for achieving a gold-standard level of education in resuscitation practice for healthcare professionals and the general public. 

Epidemiology of cardiac arrest

A new section for the 2021 Guidelines which outlines data from UK studies about in- and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.


A new section which outlines core ethical principles, and UK law around resuscitation. These guidelines should be operationalised in accordance with national mental capacity law.

Systems saving lives

These guidelines describe a number of system-level factors that can improve the management of cardiac arrest patients and provide best practice guidance for interventions to improve outcomes for both out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) and in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA).

Adult basic life support

Information about the confidence, knowledge and skills needed to act when someone sustains an out of hospital cardiac arrest.

Special circumstances

A new section for Guidelines 2021, this section covers important situations where modifications or additions to existing guidelines may be of benefit to the patient.

Post-resuscitation care

Guidelines on the management of patients post-cardiac arrest. 

Resuscitation Council UK post-resuscitation care guidelines were updated in August 2023, in accordance with the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) and the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) guidelines on temperature control after cardiac arrest in adults.

Paediatric basic life support

Guidelines for healthcare professionals and the general public on giving CPR to a child in cardiac arrest.

Paediatric advanced life support

Guidelines for treating children who require advanced life support.

Contributors and Conflict of Interest

A list of the Guidelines 2021 authors, and their declarations of conflicts of interest.


A list of ERC references used in the 2021 Guidelines.

Accreditation of the 2021 Guidelines 

The process used to produce the Resuscitation Council UK Guidelines 2021 is accredited by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). 

The NICE Accreditation Scheme recognises organisations that demonstrate high standards in producing health or social care guidance. NICE manages the NHS Evidence service, which provides access to authoritative clinical and non-clinical evidence and best practice through a web-based portal. 

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