As lifesaving devices increase, so do the number of heart attack survivors, Japanese study finds
WEDNESDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- The availability of public automated external defibrillators (AEDs) increases the odds of surviving a heart attack with little neurological consequences, suggests new research.
In Japan, where AEDs are available nationwide, a study found that about 14 percent of people who had bystander-witnessed cardiac arrest from an irregular heart rhythm survived with a good neurological outcome. By contrast, 31.6 percent of those given a shock from a public-access AED survived with minimal neurological consequences.
In addition, the study found that bystander-initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was also associated with better outcomes.
"This study clearly showed that the number of patients who received shocks from public-access AEDs and survived from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest increased as the number of public-access AEDs increased," said one of the study's authors, Dr. Taku Iwami, an assistant professor at Kyoto University Health Service in Japan. "This is the first study to show that the nationwide dissemination of public-access AEDs actually increases the rate of survival after cardiac arrests and this result reinforces the importance of the public-access defibrillation concept."
The study also shows the effectiveness of bystander-initiated CPR -- either chest compression only or compression plus ventilation -- for cardiac arrests, said Iwami. "If you witness a sudden collapse, perform at least chest compressions until medical help and an AED arrives," he added.
The availability of AEDs has been increasing, particularly in crowded areas such as health clubs or airports. In Japan, where the current study was conducted, the number of public AEDs went from 9,906 in 2005 to 88,265 at the end of 2007.
The researchers sifted through data on more
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