Published: 6 June 2023 at 14:53
Research finds medical devices are used in just 10% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests
Defibrillators are being used in just one in ten cardiac arrests where the lifesaving devices are available, according to new research presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference in Manchester.
The research drew upon data from the East of England Ambulance Service and The Circuit, the national defibrillator network developed by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to map the location of defibrillators across the whole of the UK, so that emergency services can direct bystanders to the nearest defibrillator in the event of a cardiac arrest.
Researchers then analysed the density of defibrillators across geographical areas, the number of cardiac arrests, as well as the frequency that defibrillators were used from April to September 2022.
The results found that 1,649 cardiac arrests occurred in the East of England in the six-month period. Public access defibrillators were available (within 500m of the cardiac arrest) in 1302 (79 per cent) cases, but only used in 132 (10 per cent) of cases.
The researchers say these findings underline the need for better education and awareness around defibrillators so that they are used more frequently.
The study, from researchers at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC), part of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust (MSEFT), also found that there are fewer defibrillators in more deprived areas compared to the most affluent.
The researchers overlaid data on defibrillator density and cardiac arrests with data from the 2019 index of multiple deprivation. This revealed that Luton, the most deprived area in the East of England had the lowest rates of defibrillators in the region, with 16 defibrillators per 100,000 people, compared to the mean for the East of England of 72 per 100,000 people.
There are more than 30,000 deaths from out of hospital cardiac arrests in the UK each year, and fewer than one in ten people currently survive. Prompt CPR and defibrillation can more than double someone’s chances of survival.
Dr Thomas Keeble, Consultant Cardiologist at Essex CTC which is part of MSEFT, and Associate Professor at Anglia Ruskin University said:
Judy O’Sullivan, Director of Innovation in Health Programmes at the BHF said:
Dr Simon Walsh, Medical Director at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust said:
The study was funded by the East of England Cardiac Network.