Public health surveillance of automated external defibrillators in the USA: protocol for the dynamic automated external defibrillator registry study

BMJ Open. 2017 Mar 29;7(3):e014902. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014902.


Introduction: Lay use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) before the arrival of emergency medical services (EMS) providers on scene increases survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). AEDs have been placed in public locations may be not ready for use when needed. We describe a protocol for AED surveillance that tracks these devices through time and space to improve public health, and survival as well as facilitate research.

Methods and analysis: Included AEDs are installed in public locations for use by laypersons to treat patients with OHCA before the arrival of EMS providers on scene. Included cases of OHCA are patients evaluated by organised EMS personnel and treated for OHCA. Enrolment of 10 000 AEDs annually will yield precision of 0.4% in the estimate of readiness for use. Enrolment of 2500 patients annually will yield precision of 1.9% in the estimate of survival to hospital discharge. Recruitment began on 21 Mar 2014 and is ongoing. AEDs are found by using multiple methods. Each AED is then tagged with a label which is a unique two-dimensional (2D) matrix code; the 2D matrix code is recorded and the location and status of the AED tracked using a smartphone; these elements are automatically passed via the internet to a secure and confidential database in real time. Whenever the 2D matrix code is rescanned for any non-clinical or clinical use of an AED, the user is queried to answer a finite set of questions about the device status. The primary outcome of any clinical use of an AED is survival to hospital discharge. Results are summarised descriptively.

Ethics and dissemination: These activities are conducted under a grant of authority for public health surveillance from the Food and Drug Administration. Results are provided periodically to participating sites and sponsors to improve public health and quality of care.


Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Crowdsourcing
  • Defibrillators / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / therapy*
  • Patient Outcome Assessment
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Registries
  • Sample Size
  • United States