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Automated external defibrillation (AED) and public access defibrillation (PAD) have become cornerstones in the chain of survival in modern cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Most studies of AED and PAD have been performed in urban areas, and evidence is scarce for sparsely populated rural areas. The aim of this review was to review the literature and discuss treatment strategies for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in rural areas.A Medline search was performed with the keywords automated external defibrillation (617 hits), public access defibrillation (256), and automated external defibrillator public (542). Of these 1415 abstracts and additional articles found by manually searching references, 92 articles were included in this nonsystematic review.Early defibrillation is crucial for survival with good neurological outcome after cardiac arrest. Rapid defibrillation can be a challenge in sparsely populated and remote areas, where the incidence of cardiac arrest is low and rescuer response times can be long. The few studies performed in rural areas showed that the introduction of AED programs based on a 2-tier emergency medical system, consisting of Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support teams, resulted in a decrease in collapse-to-defibrillation times and better survival of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.In rural areas, introducing AED programs and a 2-tier emergency medical system may increase survival of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients. More studies on AED and PAD in rural areas are required.