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External Defibrillators Not Much Help in Hospitals
Date:11/15/2010

s that do respond to such shocks, however, about the same percentage of patients in both groups survived (38.4 percent versus 39.8 percent).

But over 80 percent of hospitalized patients in this study had non-shockable rhythms, the study authors noted.

In public settings, some 45 percent to 71 percent of cases will respond to defibrillation, according to the study authors.

The disparity in survival is quite possibly due to the fact that valuable time that could have been spent resuscitating the patient with other methods is instead wasted on deploying an AED.

"The more time you waste during resuscitation using ineffective procedures, the more likely you are to have adverse outcomes," said Dr. Jeffrey S. Borer, chair of the department of medicine and of cardiovascular medicine at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in New York City.

"The importance of chest compression to maintain circulation has gained greater importance in the view of researchers in the field recently, and training in resuscitation has just begun to incorporate these new concepts," he continued. "The capacity to perform efficient resuscitations is not universally available among hospital personnel and the use of AEDs therefore might be expected to be less efficient among most hospital personnel. Even if an AED could be effectively used by an appropriately trained person, it could be ineffectively used by everyone else."

Hospitals across the nation are installing these portable AED heart-shockers intending to boost survival rates among heart attack patients.

According to background information in the study, upwards of 50,000 AED units were sold to U.S. hospitals between 2003 and 2008 with market growth expected to continue shooting up. More than one-third of the 550 hospitals included in this study had AEDs.

"A lot of money is being spent and the resuscitation rate is truly significantly lower among patients in whom AEDs are
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