In hospital cardiac arrest: A role for automatic defibrillation

Henry Cusnir, Rohit Tongia, Karthik P. Sheka, David Kavesteen, Robert R. Segal, Vera N. Nowakiwskyj, Frederick Cassera, Hannah Scherer, Dolores Costello, Louise Valerio, David P. Yens, Jacob Shani, Gerald Hollander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction: Sudden cardiac death (SCD) survival decreases by 10% for each minute of delay in defibrillation, however, survival rates of 98% can be achieved when defibrillation is accomplished within 30 s of collapse. Recently, a fully automated external cardioverter-defibrillator (AECD) was approved by the FDA for in-hospital use. The AECD can be programmed to automatically defibrillate when a life threatening ventricular arrhythmia occurs. The purpose of this study was to assess the potential impact of in-hospital AECDs on the critical time to defibrillation in monitored hospital units. Methods: Mock emergency (n = 18) were conducted using simulated ventricular fibrillation in various monitored units. Observers were stationed to record the time staff responded to the arrhythmia, and the time to shock. These times were compared to an AECD protocol that defibrillates automatically in an average of 38.3 s from onset of arrhythmia (n = 18). Results: Staff versus AECD response time to arrhythmia (s) was 76.3 ± 113.7 (CI 19.8-132.8) versus 7.6 ± 0.6 (CI 7.3-7.9). Staff versus AECD time to shock was 169.2 ± 103.1 (CI 117.9-220.4) versus 38.3 ± 0.7 (CI 37.9-38.6). P-values are <0.0001 for differences between the groups. Conclusion: The use of AECDs on monitored units would significantly reduce the critical time to defibrillation in patients with SCA. We anticipate this would translate to improved survival rates, and better neurologic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-188
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Advanced life support (ALS)
  • Automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • Defibrillation
  • Desfibrilhação
  • Desfibrilhação Automática Externa (AED)
  • Soporte vital avanzado
  • Suporte Avançado de Vida


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