Most cases (80%) of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occur in the home. A new suggests that deployment of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in homes may be an important additional strategy for SCA treatment. Using a prospectively-designed post-market study, researchers identified 25 cases in which a privately owned AED was used to treat SCA, including two uses on children.
- SCA was witnessed in 76% of cases.
- The patient presented in ventricular fibrillation (VF) and at least one shock was delivered in 56% of cases.
- Shock efficacy was 100% for termination of VF.
- Among those who whose arrests were witnessed and who were shocked, 67% survived to hospital discharge.
- There were no reported instances of unsafe emergency use of the AED or harm during use to the patient, responder or bystanders.
- Most responders did not have formal training, though they had watched the product training video.
The survival rate of 67% compares favorably with other studies that have demonstrated high survival rates, including one in casinos (Valenzuela; 2000; 53% survival), and one in Chicago airports (Caffrey; 2002; 61% survival). The national average survival rate is 7%.
Researchers conclude that people who purchase an AED for their home, even without previous AED experience, are able to use the device successfully in both adults and children. "The high survival rate observed in this study," they report, "demonstrates that lay responders with privately owned AEDs can successfully and safely use the devices."
SOURCE: Jorgenson DB, Yount TB, White RD, Liu PY, Eisenberg MS, Becker LB. Impacting sudden cardiac arrest in the home: A safety and effectiveness study of privately-owned AEDs. Resuscitation 05 October 2012 (10.1016/j.resuscitation.2012.09.033). In press.