Cost-effectiveness of a national public access defibrillation programme

Resuscitation. 2015 Jun;91:48-55. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2015.03.017. Epub 2015 Mar 28.


Aim: Proposed Irish legislation aimed at increasing survival from out-of-hospital-cardiac-arrest (OHCA) mandates the provision of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in a comprehensive range of publicly accessible premises in urban and rural areas. This study estimated the clinical and cost effectiveness of the legislation, compared with alternative programme configurations involving more targeted AED placement.

Methods: We used a cost-utility analysis to estimate the costs and consequences of public access defibrillation (PAD) programmes from a societal perspective, based on AED deployment by building type. Comparator programmes ranged from those that only included building types with the highest incidence of OHCA, to the comprehensive programme outline in the proposed legislation. Data on OHCA incidence and outcomes were obtained from the Irish Out-of-Hospital-Cardiac-Arrest Register (OHCAR). Costs were obtained from the Irish health service, device suppliers and training providers.

Results: The incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER) for the most comprehensive PAD scheme was €928,450/QALY. The ICER for the most scaled-back programme involving AED placement in transport stations, medical practices, entertainment venues, schools (excluding primary) and fitness facilities was €95,640/QALY. A 40% increase in AED utilisation when OHCAs occur in a public area could potentially render this programme cost effective.

Conclusion: National PAD programmes involving widespread deployment of static AEDs are unlikely to be cost-effective. To improve cost-effectiveness any prospective programmes should target locations with the highest incidence of OHCA and be supported by efforts to increase AED utilisation, such as improving public awareness, increasing CPR and AED training, and establishing an EMS-linked AED register.

Keywords: Cost-effectiveness; Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest; Public access defibrillation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Defibrillators / economics
  • Defibrillators / supply & distribution*
  • Electric Countershock / economics
  • Electric Countershock / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics*
  • Health Services Accessibility / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / mortality
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / therapy*
  • Survival Rate