Automated external defibrillator program does not impair cardiopulmonary resuscitation initiation in the public access defibrillation trial

Jerris R Hedges, Ruchir Sehra, Jonathan W Van Zile, Andrew R Anton, Lois A Bosken, Robert E O'Connor, Richard Moore, Judy L Powell, Mary Ann McBurnie
Academic Emergency Medicine 2006, 13 (6): 659-65

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate whether automated external defibrillator (AED) training and AED availability affected the response of volunteer rescuers and performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in presumed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OOH-CA) during the multicenter Public Access Defibrillation Trial.

METHODS: The Public Access Defibrillation Trial recruited 1,260 facilities in 24 North American regional sites to participate in a trial addressing survival from OOH-CA when AED training and availability were added to a volunteer-based emergency response team. Volunteers at each facility were trained to perform either CPR alone (CPR) or CPR in conjunction with AED use (CPR+AED) according to randomized assignments. This study reports the frequency of response and initiation of CPR actions (chest compressions and/or ventilations) by volunteers in the CPR and CPR+AED study groups.

RESULTS: A total of 314 presumed OOH-CA episodes occurred in CPR facilities, and 308 occurred in CPR+AED facilities. The volunteers were matched well for age, gender, and other features. Overall, ventilations (23.1% vs. 13.1%), chest compressions (24.4% vs. 12.1%), and both actions (19.8% vs. 10.5%; all p < 0.05) were more commonly performed in OOH-CA cases in the CPR+AED group. However, when only OOH-CA cases with volunteers responding were analyzed, the rates of CPR actions were similar. In the subgroup of CPR+AED cases with a responding volunteer, the AED was turned on for only 47% of cases. Volunteers initiated a CPR action more commonly when the AED was turned on (60.7% vs. 39.3%; p = 0.003).

CONCLUSIONS: In the Public Access Defibrillation Trial, rates of CPR actions for presumed OOH-CA victims were low but similar for CPR and CPR+AED responding volunteer rescuers. Factors associated with volunteer response, CPR action initiation, and AED activation warrant further investigation.

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