Lay rescuer automated external defibrillator (AED) programs may increase the number of people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest who receive bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), can reduce time to defibrillation, and may improve survival from sudden cardiac arrest. These programs require an organized and practiced response, with rescuers trained and equipped to recognize emergencies, activate the emergency medical services system, provide CPR, and provide defibrillation. To determine the effect of public access defibrillation (PAD) programs on survival and other outcomes after SCA, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Heart Association (AHA), and others funded a large prospective randomized trial. The results of this study were recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine and support current AHA recommendations for lay rescuer AED programs and emphasis on planning, training, and practice of CPR and use of AEDs. The purpose of this statement is to highlight important findings of the Public Access Defibrillation Trial and summarize implications of these findings for healthcare providers, healthcare policy advocates, and the AHA training network.
- AHA Science Advisory
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
- Heart arrest