Oct 24, 2002

Public use of automated external defibrillators

The New England Journal of Medicine
Sherry L CaffreyLance B Becker


Automated external defibrillators save lives when they are used by designated personnel in certain public settings. We performed a two-year prospective study at three Chicago airports to assess whether random bystanders witnessing out-of-hospital cardiac arrests would retrieve and successfully use automated external defibrillators. Defibrillators were installed a brisk 60-to-90-second walk apart throughout passenger terminals at O'Hare, Midway, and Meigs Field airports, which together serve more than 100 million passengers per year. The use of defibrillators was promoted by public-service videos in waiting areas, pamphlets, and reports in the media. We assessed the time from notification of the dispatchers to defibrillation, survival rate at 72 hours and at one year among persons with cardiac arrest, their neurologic status, and the characteristics of rescuers. Over a two-year period, 21 persons had nontraumatic cardiac arrest, 18 of whom had ventricular fibrillation. With two exceptions, defibrillator operators were good Samaritans, acting voluntarily. In the case of four patients with ventricular fibrillation, defibrillators were neither nearby nor used within five minutes, and none of these patients survived. Three others re...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Ventricular Fibrillation
Emergency Treatment
STAB2 gene
Electroversion Therapy
Hares (mammal)

Related Feeds


Arrhythmias are abnormalities in heart rhythms, which can be either too fast or too slow. They can result from abnormalities of the initiation of an impulse or impulse conduction or a combination of both. Here is the latest research on arrhythmias.