Big increase in public defibrillators saves many more lives

7th November 2016

A huge increase in the number of automatic defibrillators in public places in Japan has led to 16.5 per cent of people who have an out of hospital cardiac arrest getting help.   In 2005 the figure was just 1.1 per cent.

The figures have just been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers estimated that between 2005 and 2013, the number of defibrillators went up from just below 11,000 to over 400,000 and the number of people who had a good neurological outcome because of them increased from six in 2005 to 201 in 2013.

The team investigated a total of 43,762 people having a witnessed cardiac arrest out of hospital during these years.

Researcher Dr Taku Iwami, from Kyoto University Health Service, said cardiologists should make their efforts to spread resuscitation and defibrillation education to save their patients, and tell families of their patients to learn how to perform CPR and defibrillator use.

He said the Japan results should be transferable to developed countries such as the US and other Western countries.

He continued, "There are still many lives that we can save with automatic defibrillators (AEDs). Although this paper demonstrated that AEDs save a lot of lives, we have to consider the ways to make AEDs more effective and save more lives with disseminated AEDs, including education in CPR and AED use and developing new ways to supply AEDs on scene."

The researchers pointed out in their paper that many public-access defibrillators are in buildings or other areas that are not accessible on weekends.

For more details see here