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Public Access Defibrillation Underutilized in Cardiac Arrest

Findings from review of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in U.K. region during one year

Public Access Defibrillation Underutilized in Cardiac Arrest

FRIDAY, Feb. 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In out-of-hospital (OOH) cardiac arrest, public access defibrillation (PAD) prior to ambulance arrival may be only rarely used, according to a study published online Feb. 19 in Heart.

Charles D. Deakin, M.D., from South Central Ambulance Service in Otterbourne, U.K., and colleagues ascertained the availability and effective use of PAD in all OOH cardiac arrests in Hampshire over a 12-month period. To establish the known presence of PAD, emergency calls were reviewed; in addition, a review of all known PAD locations in Hampshire was undertaken.

The researchers found that 673 known PADs were located in 278 Hampshire locations during the study period. Of the 1,035 calls confirmed as cardiac arrest, access to an automated external defibrillator was reported in 4.25 percent of calls (44 occasions). The automated external defibrillator was successfully retrieved and used before ambulance arrival in 1.74 percent of cases (18 occasions).

"This study highlights the need for both improved PAD availability and the need to improve bystander confidence in the use of these devices," the authors write. "With survival from OOH cardiac arrest doubling in cases where PAD is used, there is a need to improve PAD availability, publicize locations and support bystanders in deploying the device."

One author disclosed financial ties to South Central Ambulance Service and Prometheus Medical.

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