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ILCOR and neonatal resuscitation 2005
  1. Dr Sam Richmond
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr S Richmond
    Neonatal Unit Sunderland Royal Hospital Kayll Road Sunderland, SR4 7TP, UK; sam.richmond{at}

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The ILCOR process has focussed attention on neonatal resuscitation and provides an international mechanism for critical evaluation of relevant scientific evidence


The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) was founded in 1992 by representatives of the American Heart Association, the European Resuscitation Council, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Resuscitation Council of South Africa. They were later joined by the New Zealand Resuscitation Council and the Consejo Latino-Americano de Resuscitatión. As a group of organisations concerned with issuing resuscitation guidelines, they wished to establish a standing liaison committee to coordinate international efforts to refine knowledge and to develop internationally consistent guidelines for paediatric and adult emergency life support.

The paediatric working group of ILCOR established a neonatal subgroup in 1995. Since then two major international efforts have been made to update guidelines on neonatal resuscitation following collaborative examination of published evidence. The first of these resulted in an advisory statement on neonatal resuscitation in 1999 and in international guidelines the following year.1,2 The second effort has resulted in publication of a document outlining an international consensus on science in 2005.3 The primary aim of this document is to agree on an interpretation of the published science. It is therefore not a ‘guidelines’ document in the usual sense. However, where it was possible not only to agree on the science but also on a treatment recommendation then this treatment recommendation has also been included. This ILCOR document in turn has been used by various organisations as the basis for constructing national guidelines.4–6


In 1897 JB De Lee, an American obstetrician, succinctly summarised the essence of resuscitation at birth in the following statement—“there are three grand principles governing the treatment of asphyxia neonatorum: first, maintain the body heat; second, free the air passages …

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  • Competing interests: The author was the co-chair of the neonatal section of ILCOR and was a member of the editorial board responsible for the ILCOR consensus document. He is also chair of the UK Resuscitation Council’s Newborn Life Support (NLS) course and editor of its manual.23