Availability of Automated External Defibrillators in Public High Schools

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Abstract

Objectives

To assess automated external defibrillator (AED) distribution and cardiac emergency preparedness in Michigan secondary schools and investigate for association with school sociodemographic characteristics.

Study design

Surveys were sent via electronic mail to representatives from all public high schools in 30 randomly selected Michigan counties, stratified by population. Association of AED-related factors with school sociodemographic characteristics were evaluated using Wilcoxon rank sum test and χ2 test, as appropriate.

Results

Of 188 schools, 133 (71%) responded to the survey and all had AEDs. Larger student population was associated with fewer AEDs per 100 students (P < .0001) and fewer staff with AED training per AED (P = .02), compared with smaller schools. Schools with >20% students from racial minority groups had significantly fewer AEDs available per 100 students than schools with less racial diversity (P = .03). Schools with more students eligible for free and reduced lunch were less likely to have a cardiac emergency response plan (P = .02) and demonstrated less frequent AED maintenance (P = .03).

Conclusions

Although AEDs are available at public high schools across Michigan, the number of AEDs per student varies inversely with minority student population and school size. Unequal distribution of AEDs and lack of cardiac emergency preparedness may contribute to outcomes of sudden cardiac arrest among youth.

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