Introduction: The Public Access to Defibrillation (PAD) program was designed to raise the awareness of sudden cardiac death (SCA) pre-hospital management among the community. The goal of the following research was to confirm the final impact of the Polish PAD program on various resident groups that differ by age, training and education level.
Material and methods: The trial total number of participants reached 404 people from three cities divided into two groups. In group one (n = 295) were randomly selected people inside the trial area and in group two (n = 109) we had individuals who were theoretically trained in basic life support (BLS) algorithms, including the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED). The research method was based on two different questionnaires completed by participants from each group.
Results: The greatest knowledge of SCA, as well as the use of AED, and the best practical skills, were possessed by the residents of cities with a population over 100 000, aged between 18 and 30 years, who completed secondary or higher education (31.7%). The group with the smallest knowledge about SCA lived in the country (10.7%). The second group with little knowledge of the subject consisted mostly of individuals with primary education (4.19%) or professional abilities and over 50 years old (2.16%).
Conclusions: There must be some actions taken in order to increase the community awareness concerning automatic defibrillation. Training on AED and the possibility of practical exercise needs to be organized and should be conducted especially among residents of the countryside and people under 30 or over 50 years old.
Keywords: automatic external defibrillator; resuscitation; sudden cardiac death; ventricular fibrillation.