Automatic External Defibrillators
Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs)
The results of studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the effectiveness of AED programs in different settings. One study documented a 38 percent effectiveness rate in lifesaving among 148 people who suffered cardiac arrest in casinos. The other study documented a 17 percent AED effectiveness rate in lifesaving when available on 627,956 American Airline flights with trained flight attendants.
AEDs cost about $3,000 plus maintenance costs, primarily for batteries, of about $150 per year. A study in Circulation found that untrained sixth graders following automated voice prompts performed almost as well in use of AEDs as well-trained emergency medical technicians or paramedics. Nevertheless, for organizations that commit to AED use, there is also an incremental cost of training personnel for proper use of this technology.
In an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marie Robertson noted that only two to five percent of the 225,000 persons who have sudden and unexpected cardiac arrest each year outside a hospital are successfully resuscitated compared to the 17 to 38 percent success rates found with AEDs. AEDs in the workplace might prove to be a very cost-effective intervention.