Background: The most frequent cause of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. Despite many efforts the prognosis in this patient group is poor. According to the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) recommendations, early defibrillation, preferably in the first 3-5 min, is a key link in the Chain of Survival after SCA. With an increasing number of available automated external defibrillators (AED) time from SCA to defibrillation may be reduced, thus resulting in the improvement of patients' prognosis. Therefore, the ERC recommends providing AED in public locations with a high incidence of cardiac arrests.
Aim: Estimation of the availability of AED in the city of Warsaw.
Methods: Automated external defibrillators were identified according to the information from the City Hall, public services, foundations, companies and own research and knowledge. The AED presence was confirmed by phone at the potential locations and random locations were visited.
Results: By 15 May 2009, 117 AED had been reported in 83 points in the city of Warsaw. The number of AED was the highest in the Sródmieście (29) and Włochy (28) districts. On average, there was one AED per 14 706 citizens (0.68 per 10,000 citizens) and per 4.24 km(2) (2.26 per 10 km(2)). The highest ratio of the number of AED per 10,000 citizens was observed in the Włochy (7.06) and Sródmieście (2.25) districts, the lowest - in the Targówek (0.16), Wawer (0.15) and Bemowo (0.09) districts. The highest ratio of the number of AED per 10 km(2) were in the Sródmieście (18.63), Włochy (9.78) and Zoliborz (5.9) districts, the lowest - in the Wilanów (0.27) and Wawer (0.13) districts.
Conclusions: The number of AED in the city of Warsaw should be increased, additional demonstrations of AED proper usage and AED promotion should be organised. It is necessary to provide easy access to the devices. Significant differences in the number of AED can be observed between the districts. Neither authorities nor public services are aware of the number of AED in the city of Warsaw.