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Am J Emerg Med. 2016 Mar;34(3):590-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2015.12.015. Epub 2015 Dec 12.

Emergency dispatcher assistance decreases time to defibrillation in a public venue: a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, United States; Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Thailand. Electronic address:
Department of Emergency Medicine, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, United States.



We attempted to determine the effect of prearrival instructions that included the specific location of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in a public venue on the time to defibrillation in a simulated cardiac arrest scenario using untrained bystanders.


The study was a randomized controlled trial at an urban shopping mall. Participants were asked to retrieve an AED and come back to defibrillate a mannequin. Only the experimental group received the location of the AED. We measured the percentage of shocks that were delivered in less than 3 minutes from the start of the scenario and also recorded several other time intervals.


Thirty-nine participants completed the study, with 20 participants in the experimental group. The median time to defibrillation in the experimental group was 2.6 minutes (interquartile range, 2.4-2.8) which was significantly less than the control group's median time of 5.9 minutes (interquartile range, 4.38-7.65). Ninety percent (95% confidence interval, 68.3%-98.8%) of the participants in the experimental group defibrillated within 3 minutes, which was significantly different from the control group (10.5%; 95% confidence interval, 1.3%-33.1%).


In this study, a prearrival protocol providing participants with the location of the nearest AED in a public building resulted in a significant decrease in the time required to deliver a simulated shock. Further investigations in various types of public settings are needed to confirm the results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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