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CPR, Defibrillator Combo Boosts Cardiac Incident Survival

Making more AEDs available in communities could save hundreds of lives, study finds

MONDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) alone, bystander use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) combined with CPR more than doubles a person's chances of surviving cardiac arrest in a non-hospital setting, a new study says.

The researchers analyzed the cases of 10,663 patients in 11 urban and rural communities in Canada and the United States who suffered out-of-hospital cardiac arrests over one year. Of those, bystanders administered CPR in 3,191 cases (29.9 percent) and used an AED with CPR in 259 cases (2.4 percent).

The survival rate for patients who received CPR alone was 9 percent, compared with 36 percent for patients who received CPR and an AED shock.

After they adjusted for a number of other factors, the researchers concluded that CPR plus AED more than doubled the chances of survival, compared with CPR alone.

"This is not a randomized, controlled study, but it describes what is going on in the real world, where people at the scene of a cardiac arrest are saving lives," lead investigator Dr. Myron L. Weisfeldt, chairman of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a prepared statement.

He said the findings provide strong evidence for making AEDS more widely available in communities. Based on an analysis of statistics, the researchers estimated that bystander use of CPR and AED in the two countries saves 522 lives a year, or about one life per day.

The study was to be presented Monday at the American Heart Association annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about AEDs.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Nov. 5, 2007, presentation, American Heart Association annual meeting, Orlando, Fla.

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