Public-access defibrillation: where do we place the AEDs?

Prehosp Emerg Care. 1999 Oct-Dec;3(4):303-5. doi: 10.1080/10903129908958958.


Background: Many prehospital cardiac arrests occur in public places. Even the best EMS systems have a finite response time. Therefore, it has been recommended that automated external defibrillators (AEDs) be placed in public areas for immediate access by trained members of the general public.

Objective: To determine the locations of multiple cardiac arrests in order to plan for placement of public-access AEDs.

Methods: Retrospective review of all primary cardiac arrests in calendar year 1997. Cardiac arrests in which resuscitation was not attempted (DOA), traumatic cases, pediatric cases, and those due to "other" causes were excluded. Location of the cardiac arrest was obtained from the ambulance run ticket. The EMS system is an urban, Midwestern, all-ALS, public-utility model system with fire department first responders that transports approximately 58,000 patients annually.

Results: There was scene response to 922 cardiac arrests. 377 DOAs and 219 nonprimary cardiac arrests were excluded. There were 326 primary cardiac arrests. Sixteen locations had more than one cardiac arrest: 11 locations had two cardiac arrests, four locations had three cardiac arrests, and one location had four cardiac arrests. The airport, an airline overhaul facility, a casino, and two hotels each had two cardiac arrests; the other locations of multiple cardiac arrests were in nursing homes. The professional sports stadiums had no cardiac arrests.

Conclusions: Since very few locations had more than one cardiac arrest, it may be difficult to identify high-yield public places in which to place an AED. Nursing homes may want to consider AED availability.

MeSH terms

  • Electric Countershock*
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Heart Arrest / epidemiology
  • Heart Arrest / mortality*
  • Heart Arrest / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Missouri / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies