Use of automated external defibrillators at NCAA Division I universities

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005 Sep;37(9):1487-92. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000177591.30968.d4.


Purpose: The placement of automated external defibrillators (AED) at public sporting events is a growing national trend. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the prevalence, past use, and cost of implementing AED at university sporting venues.

Methods: Questionnaires were sent to the head athletic trainer at all Division I NCAA universities (N = 326) and responses collected between August and November 2003.

Results: Completed surveys were returned by 244 institutions (75% response rate). Ninety-one percent (221/244) had AED for an average of 3.3 yr (range 1-13) with a median of four AED per institution (range 1-30). There were 35 cases of AED use for sudden cardiac arrest with 77% (27/35) occurring in older nonstudents, 14% (5/35) in intercollegiate athletes, and 3% (1/35) in a student nonintercollegiate athlete (information unavailable in two cases). The immediate resuscitation rate was 54% (19/35). A shock was delivered in 21 cases with a resuscitation rate of 71% (15/21). None of the intercollegiate athletes were successfully resuscitated. The average cost per AED was 2460 US dollars. In a 10-yr model (expected useful life of an AED), the cost per life immediately resuscitated was 52,400 US dollars, and the estimated cost per life-year gained ranged 10,500 US dollars to 22,500 US dollars.

Conclusions: Most Division I universities have AED available at selected sporting venues. Although no benefit was demonstrated for intercollegiate athletes, AED were successfully used in older nonstudents with cardiac arrest with a favorable long-term cost analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Defibrillators / economics
  • Defibrillators / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Heart Arrest / epidemiology
  • Heart Arrest / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sports / statistics & numerical data*
  • Student Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology