Study backs public defibrillators

THE case for increasing access to automated defibrillators (AEDs) in public places has been bolstered by a study showing arrhythmias responsive to defibrillation happen more often in public places than in the home. 

A North American  study looking at cardiac arrests where bystanders applied  AEDs found subjects were four times more likely to have life-threatening arrhythmias – ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia – that respond to defibrillation in a public place compared to the home.

The prospective cohort study of 12,930 cardiac arrests in 10 US and Canadian sites found survival rates were 34% for cardiac arrest in public settings with bystander-applied AEDs, compared with 12% at home. 

The authors said the results had important public health implications, strengthening the argument for putting more AEDs in public locations.

In light of the “relatively low incidence” of shockable