Monday, 4 April 2011

How Effective are Defibrillators?

The Defibtech Lifeline Automated External Defibrillator
 If you have been considering buying a defibrillator there are no doubt a number of questions that have entered your mind, many of which you can find the answers to in our Top 10 Objections to Defibrillators section. Of all these questions, the most important one for you to consider is how effective are defibrillators?

The best way to answer this question is to look at the findings of a recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that considered the effectiveness of AEDs. The study published in April 2010 assessed the effectiveness of AED use before the arrival of emergency services in a public access defibrillation trial between December 2005 and May 2007 in the USA. 

The trial looked at 13,769 out of hospital cardiac arrests. Out of this number, 4,403 (32%) received CPR from a bystander but no AED was applied before the emergency services arrived, 289 (2.1%) had an AED applied before emergency services arrived, and 9,077 (65.9%) had no bystander CPR or AED applied.

Of the 4,403 who received CPR but no AED, 9% of these people survived. This compares to 24% of the 289 who had an AED applied before the emergency services arrived. Out of these 289, 170 had an AED shock delivered with 38% of them surviving.

Many people wonder whether the average layperson with no medical training really can use a defibrillator to save a life. The breakdown of the people applying the AED and the survival rates shown in the study was as follows – 32% healthcare workers (16% survived); 35% lay volunteers (40% survived); 26% police (13% survived); 7% unknown.

The main finding we can take from this study is that there was a marked increase in the percentage of survivors of those receiving a shock from a defibrillator compared to those who were only treated with CPR. Also a bigger percentage of those treated by lay volunteers survived than those treated by healthcare workers, showing that anyone can successfully use a defibrillator.

Find out more about the Lifeline Automated External Defibrillator (AED)