Background: Early defibrillation plays a key role in improving survival in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrests due to ventricular fibrillation (ventricular-fibrillation cardiac arrests), and the use of publicly accessible automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can help to reduce the time to defibrillation for such patients. However, the effect of dissemination of public-access AEDs for ventricular-fibrillation cardiac arrest at the population level has not been extensively investigated.
Methods: From a nationwide, prospective, population-based registry of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Japan, we identified patients from 2005 through 2013 with bystander-witnessed ventricular-fibrillation arrests of presumed cardiac origin in whom resuscitation was attempted. The primary outcome measure was survival at 1 month with a favorable neurologic outcome (Cerebral Performance Category of 1 or 2, on a scale from 1 [good cerebral performance] to 5 [death or brain death]). The number of patients in whom survival with a favorable neurologic outcome was attributable to public-access defibrillation was estimated.
Results: Of 43,762 patients with bystander-witnessed ventricular-fibrillation arrests of cardiac origin, 4499 (10.3%) received public-access defibrillation. The percentage of patients receiving public-access defibrillation increased from 1.1% in 2005 to 16.5% in 2013 (P<0.001 for trend). The percentage of patients who were alive at 1 month with a favorable neurologic outcome was significantly higher with public-access defibrillation than without public-access defibrillation (38.5% vs. 18.2%; adjusted odds ratio after propensity-score matching, 1.99; 95% confidence interval, 1.80 to 2.19). The estimated number of survivors in whom survival with a favorable neurologic outcome was attributed to public-access defibrillation increased from 6 in 2005 to 201 in 2013 (P<0.001 for trend).
Conclusions: In Japan, increased use of public-access defibrillation by bystanders was associated with an increase in the number of survivors with a favorable neurologic outcome after out-of-hospital ventricular-fibrillation cardiac arrest.