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Circulation. 2003 Aug 12;108(6):697-703. Epub 2003 Aug 4.

Cost effectiveness of defibrillation by targeted responders in public settings.

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F699 Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa Hospital, 1053 Carling Ave, Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 4E9, Canada.

Erratum in

  • Circulation. 2004 Jun 29;109(25):3256.



Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is frequent and has poor outcomes. Defibrillation by trained targeted nontraditional responders improves survival versus historical controls, but it is unclear whether such defibrillation is a good value for the money. Therefore, this study estimated the incremental cost effectiveness of defibrillation by targeted nontraditional responders in public settings by using decision analysis.


A Markov model evaluated the potential cost effectiveness of standard emergency medical services (EMS) versus targeted nontraditional responders. Standard EMS included first-responder defibrillation followed by advanced life support. Targeted nontraditional responders included standard EMS supplemented by defibrillation by trained lay responders. The analysis adopted a US societal perspective. Input data were derived from published or publicly available data. Future costs and effects were discounted at 3%. Monte Carlo simulation and sensitivity analyses assessed the robustness of results. Standard EMS had a median of 0.47 (interquartile range [IQR]=0.32 to 0.69) quality-adjusted life years and a median of 14 100 dollars (IQR=8600 dollars to 21 900 dollars) costs per arrest. Targeted nontraditional responders in casinos had an incremental cost of a median 56 700 dollars (IQR=44 100 dollars to 77 200 dollars) per additional quality-adjusted life year. The results were sensitive to changes in time to defibrillation, incidence of arrest, and number of devices required to implement rapid defibrillation.


Where cardiac arrest is frequent and response time intervals are short, rapid defibrillation by targeted nontraditional responders may be a good value for the money compared with standard EMS. The incidence of arrest should be considered when choosing locations to implement public access defibrillation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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