Evolution of a community-wide early defibrillation programme experience over 13 years using police/fire personnel and paramedics as responders

Resuscitation. 2005 Jun;65(3):279-83. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2004.10.018.


Background: In November 1990, a 2-year trial period was initiated in which police officers in the city of Rochester, Minnesota, were trained in the operation of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Following the trial, the program was expanded as the city grew in population and area. In 1998 firefighters also were equipped with AEDs, bringing to a total 18 AEDs with police and fire personnel, in addition to paramedic capability.

Methods: From November 1990 to December 2003, all adult patients with atraumatic cardiac arrest with ventricular fibrillation (VF) as the presenting rhythm were included for analysis. Call-to-shock time intervals, restoration of spontaneous circulation after defibrillation shocks only (without need for vasoactive or inotropic drug administration), and neurologically intact survival (overall performance category (OPC) 1 or 2) were study end-points.

Results: One hundred and ninety-three patients presented in VF. Of these, 80 (41%) were discharged neurologically intact. Of the 159 VF patients whose arrest was bystander-witnessed 73 (46%) were discharged. Survival from non-VF arrest was very low (5%). Assessment of VF survivors demonstrated a quality of life, adjusted for age, gender, and disease, similar to that of the general population.

Conclusions: These data demonstrate that a relatively high survival can be obtained in a city of this size and area employing a non-tiered community-wide approach within the emergency medical services (EMS) system.

MeSH terms

  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support / instrumentation
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support / methods*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Community Health Planning
  • Electric Countershock / methods*
  • Emergency Medical Technicians
  • Female
  • Fires
  • Heart Arrest / etiology
  • Heart Arrest / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota
  • Police
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / complications
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / therapy*