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Systematic review finds general public is hesitant to use defibrillators

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | September 28, 2017
More research needed to
make policy proposals
Despite the availability of public access defibrillators, people are often hesitant to use them to treat cardiac arrests, according to a review recently published in the European Heart Journal.

This is because the general public doesn’t know what defibrillators are, how to use them or where to find them.

Researchers at the University of Warwick conducted a systematic review of 68 studies and found that people are reluctant to use AEDs due to a lack of confidence and fear of harm.

According to the review, members of the public did see the value in AED training, but the majority of them weren’t trained. Those with training were more likely to use an AED, but the researchers pointed out that these devices can be used without training required.

The analysis also found that public-access AED were often donated or acquired through fundraising instead of private purchases. Organizations were unwilling to purchase an AED due to cost limitations, concerns over liability, the notion that they are not necessary, a lack of responsible individuals, good, local emergency services and a nearby hospital.

One of the studies reported that even though 32 percent of the organizations had cost concerns and 37 percent had legal concerns, 55 percent believed affordability and 51 percent thought legal protection were good reasons to purchase an AED.

The researchers also considered maintenance as a potential hurdle. One study found that only one out of 206 AEDs were operable and ready for use. The vast majority were not maintained or there were no formal plans in place for maintenance or replacement.

Since many of the studies were observational, collected data retrospectively, or were surveys, the researchers stated that additional research is needed before any policy proposals can be made.

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