Emergency dispatcher assistance decreases time to defibrillation in a public venue: a randomized controlled trial

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We attempted to determine the effect of prearrival instructions that included the specific location of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in a public venue on the time to defibrillation in a simulated cardiac arrest scenario using untrained bystanders.


The study was a randomized controlled trial at an urban shopping mall. Participants were asked to retrieve an AED and come back to defibrillate a mannequin. Only the experimental group received the location of the AED. We measured the percentage of shocks that were delivered in less than 3 minutes from the start of the scenario and also recorded several other time intervals.


Thirty-nine participants completed the study, with 20 participants in the experimental group. The median time to defibrillation in the experimental group was 2.6 minutes (interquartile range, 2.4-2.8) which was significantly less than the control group’s median time of 5.9 minutes (interquartile range, 4.38-7.65). Ninety percent (95% confidence interval, 68.3%-98.8%) of the participants in the experimental group defibrillated within 3 minutes, which was significantly different from the control group (10.5%; 95% confidence interval, 1.3%-33.1%).


In this study, a prearrival protocol providing participants with the location of the nearest AED in a public building resulted in a significant decrease in the time required to deliver a simulated shock. Further investigations in various types of public settings are needed to confirm the results.

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