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ACC: Home Automated External Defibrillators Ineffective

Over three-year period, overall mortality is no lower compared to conventional resuscitation

TUESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who survive an anterior-wall myocardial infarction and are deemed too healthy to receive an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, access to a home automated external defibrillator does not improve overall survival compared to conventional resuscitation methods, according to the results of a study published in the April 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American College of Cardiology's 57th Scientific Session held this week in Chicago.

Gust H. Bardy, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues randomly assigned 7,001 patients (average age 62) to receive either the use of an automated external defibrillator or a call to emergency medical services and cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the event of a cardiac arrest at home.

During a median follow-up of 37.3 months, the researchers found that overall mortality was almost identical in the automated external defibrillator and control groups (6.4 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively). They also found that only 160 (35.6 percent) of the 450 deaths resulted from sudden cardiac arrest from tachyarrhythmia. Of the 32 patients who were treated with an automated external defibrillator, only 14 received an appropriate shock and only four survived to hospital discharge.

"The results of the Home Automated External Defibrillator Trial suggest that future efforts should turn away from improbable resuscitation efforts and toward education, modification of risk factors, and other methods for primary prevention of heart disease," concludes the author of an accompanying editorial.

The study authors report financial relationships with the medical equipment industry.

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