AEDs in public places make cardiac arrest survivable

A large-scale AED study reported in the Jan. 27 New England Journal of Medicine found that the majority of sudden cardiac arrest victims have good chances of survival under certain common conditions.

    These include:

  • The sudden cardiac arrest is witnessed.
  • The collapse occurs in a large public place, such as an airport or sports arena.
  • An automated external defibrillator (AED) is handy.
  • Bystanders use CPR and the AED.

The study of more than 12,000 sudden cardiac arrest victims in 10 large North American cities found that 79% of the SCA victims who suffered SCA in public had the type of cardiac arrest, known as ventricular tachycardia, that can be corrected by shock from an AED. Among those victims who received AED shock, 34 percent survived and were able to be discharged from the hospital.

“Our research clearly shows that the chances of surviving a shockable cardiac arrest are best when someone publicly witnesses it happening, a bystander uses CPR to keep blood flowing to the brain and other key organs, and an AED can be applied to electrically restart the heart,”  Johns Hopkins cardiologist Myron “Mike” Weisfeldt, M.D., said.

The researchers conclude that their study “adds strength to the argument for putting AEDs in public locations.”

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