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Efforts to improve AED usage help in public, but not in the home

Efforts to improve automated external defibrillator (AED) usage increase bystander defibrillation in public places but not at home, according to a study of more than 25,000 cardiac arrest patients presented recently at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2015.1

Between 2007 and 2012 the number of registered AEDs in a nationwide AED registry in Denmark increased from 141 to 7,800. Of these, 17.5% were available near residential areas. This was accompanied by education for Danish citizens on how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In addition, the nationwide AED registry was linked to emergency medical dispatch centres so that bystanders to a cardiac arrest could be told where the nearest AED was.

The current study investigated whether the increase in AEDs and accompanying initiatives resulted in more cardiac arrest patients being defibrillated by bystanders. The study included 25,287 patients who had a first time out-of-hospital cardiac arrest between 2001 and 2012. Of these, 74% occurred at home and 26% occurred in a public location.

The researchers found that the rate of defibrillation by bystanders for patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrests increased from 1.4% in 2001 to 11.9% in 2012 in public locations. The major increase occurred in the second half of the study period, from 2.1% in 2008 to the 11.9% 2012. During the 12 year period there was no increase in bystander defibrillation of cardiac arrest patients at home and rates remained low at about 1%.

Dr Steen Hansen (Aalborg University, Denmark), who presented the research, said: “An AED promptly used by a person present at the cardiac arrest site before the emergency medical services arrive can have a significant impact on the chances of survival…Naturally, public AEDs are of no value if they are never actually used during cardiac arrests.”

“In cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, defibrillation by bystanders has remained low despite widespread dissemination of AEDs. Usage of AEDs is highly dependent on: AEDs being available near the cardiac arrest site; the nearby AED being easily accessible at the time of cardiac arrest; and bystanders present at the cardiac arrest site being able to locate and use a nearby AED,” Dr Hansen continued.

“Although our study design does not allow interpretation of the effect of each national initiative, it is encouraging to see the increase in bystander defibrillation in public locations following the combined initiatives…However, the study does point to the need for ways to increase bystander defibrillation in residential locations as most out-of-hospital cardiac arrests actually occur at home,” Dr Hansen added.

The researchers also found that survival of cardiac arrest patients who had been defibrillated by a bystander increased from below 10% in 2001 to about 55% in 2012 in public locations. In residential locations, survival following bystander defibrillation increased from close to none to about 25% in 2012.

Dr Hansen said: “Survival rates from cardiac arrest after bystander defibrillation can be as high in general public locations as it is in selected locations, such as airports and casinos, where AEDs are easily accessible. However, our study shows that bystander defibrillation does not guarantee high survival as it was low at the beginning of the study.”

“Many factors are important for increasing survival even when the patient has been defibrillated by bystanders including bystander CPR, improved pre-hospital organisation, and advanced care in hospitals. Continuing efforts are needed to improve bystander defibrillation and increase survival,” he concluded.

References

1. Hansen S. Increased dissemination of registered AEDs is associated with higher rate of bystander defibrillation in public locations but not in residential areas – a nationwide study. Abstract P4072. European Society of Cardiology 2015

Published on: September 30, 2015

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ENDORSED BY

  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association
 

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