Use and benefits of public access defibrillation in a nation-wide network

Resuscitation. 2013 Apr;84(4):430-4. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2012.11.008. Epub 2012 Nov 16.


Background: Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are known to increase survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). The aim of this study was to examine the use and benefit of public-access defibrillation (PAD) in a nation-wide network. We primarily sought to assess survival at 1 month but information about the circumstances of each OHCA is provided as well.

Methods: In this 28-month study, we assessed the use of 807 AEDs in Denmark. When an AED was deployed information about the circumstances of OHCA, the bystander, the AED and the victim's condition was obtained.

Results: An AED was connected to an OHCA victim prior to the arrival of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in 48 instances. Ten percent of bystanders were off-duty healthcare professionals. Shockable arrests (N=31, 70%) were significantly more likely to be witnessed (94% vs. 54%) to occur at sports facilities (74% vs. 31%), in relation to exercise (42% vs. 0%), and with improved 30-day survival (69% vs. 15%, p=0.001). Among those presenting with a shockable rhythm, 20 (65%) had Return of Spontaneous Circulation upon arrival of EMS and 8 (26%) were conscious, which emphasizes the diagnostic value of ECG downloads from AEDs. Survival could be determined in 42 of 44 patients with OHCA of cardiac origin, and was 52% (n=22, 95% CI [38-67]) and the Cerebral Performance Category was 1 (Good Cerebral Performance) in all survivors.

Conclusion: With a 30-day neurologically intact survival of 69% for patients with shockable rhythms, this study provides further evidence of the lifesaving potential of PAD.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Computer Communication Networks*
  • Defibrillators / statistics & numerical data*
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / epidemiology
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / therapy