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Studies Provide Data on Uses, Ideal Locations for AEDs

Defibrillators lead to high survival in high schools; placing them in cities requires strategy

TUESDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Automated external defibrillator (AED) programs in schools may offer a high chance of survival for people having sudden cardiac arrest on school grounds, and AEDs should be placed strategically, rather than by unguided initiatives, according to two studies published online July 27 in Circulation.

In the first study, Jonathan A. Drezner, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,710 high schools for which a representative reported on emergency planning and recent sudden cardiac arrests. These events were reported by 36 schools; of these, 14 events involved high school athletes and 22 involved older non-students. AED shocks were given in 83 percent of cases and roughly 64 percent of victims survived to hospital discharge.

In the other study, Fredrik Folke, M.D., of the Gentofte University Hospital in Hellerup, Denmark, and colleagues pinpointed 1,274 cardiac arrests in public locations in Copenhagen from 1994 to 2005. According to American Heart Association guidelines, AEDs would need to be put in 10.6 percent of the city area to cover 66.8 percent of the cardiac arrests. The excessive cost of these AED deployments was estimated at $41,000 per additional quality-adjusted life-year. However, unguided AED placement in the entire city had an estimated cost of $108,700 per quality-adjusted life-year.

"These two reports starkly illustrate the success and shortcomings of public access defibrillation programs and can direct our ongoing efforts to decrease the unacceptable mortality of sudden cardiac arrest," writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

The high school study was supported by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment.

Abstract - Drezner
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Abstract - Folke
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Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)

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