In fact, among these types of arrests, 34 percent of those who were treated with an AED used by a bystander in a public venue survived and were able to get out of the hospital, the researchers found.
Far fewer patients (36 percent) suffered ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation at home. Among those who were shocked with an AED by a bystander or family member, 11.6 percent were able to leave the hospital, the authors noted.
"Despite an overall decrease in frequency of shockable cause for cardiac arrest, AEDs are potentially of great value in a public place. In the home, as well as in public, calling 911 and performing CPR will help to save lives," Weisfeldt said.
Dr. Gregg Fonarow, an American Heart Association spokesman and a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that "between 250,000 to 350,000 Americans have out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest each year with over 90 percent of these individuals not surviving."
This new study found that shockable rhythms are much more frequent when sudden cardiac arrest occurs in public locations than when it happens at home, he said.
"This difference in frequency in shockable rhythms between home and public locations likely reflects differences in age and underlying disease in individuals sustaining sudden cardiac arrest in these locations," Fonarow said.
"These findings suggest that AEDs placed in public locations will provide greater value than those in the home. This research also highlights that more needs to be done to prevent and successfully resuscitate those with sudden cardiac arrest," he added.
Another expert, Dr. Gust H. Bardy, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington and founding president of the Seattle Institute for Cardiovascular Research, thinks AEDs should be widely available, but believes CPR is ineffective.
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