August 1, 2022 – A University of Warwick study found that school-based defibrillators (AEDs) accessible outside of school hours could be effective in treating more than two-thirds of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest within five minutes.
Researchers from the Warwick Medical School’s Clinical Trials Unit found that between 2014 and 2016, 69.3% of OHCAs in the West Midlands occurred within 500 meters of a school, equivalent to a five-minute walk.
While more than half (57%) of schools surveyed have on-site defibrillators, only 13% of these are accessible 24 hours a day, limiting their potential benefit. Options to improve accessibility include registering AEDs with emergency medical services, using The Circuit and ensuring they are installed in locations that are always available to the public.
The study is part of ongoing research by the Warwick Clinical Trials Unit that aims to identify locations to optimize the placement of AEDs in the community, to increase their availability and likely use in the event of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the area. neighborhood occurs.
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), fewer than one in 10 people survive an OHCA, but defibrillation within three to five minutes of collapse can improve survival rates by 50-70%. The government has committed to providing state-funded schools in England with defibrillators by the summer of 2023, according to previous research into OHCAs from the Warwick Clinical Trials Unit.
dr. Terry Brown of the Applied Research Collaboration West Midlands, Warwick Medical School, said: “Schools are often the heart of the community and there is an opportunity to deliver real public benefit by increasing the availability and accessibility of school-based defibrillators.
“With half of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests out of school hours and many AEDs not registered with emergency medical services, better access to defibrillators is a strong economic justification, but most importantly, lives can be saved.
“The government has committed to funding all the necessary equipment so that every school in England has at least one defibrillator on site by the end of next year, or more for larger sites. Our research shows the importance of ensuring these are available and accessible to the community, not just to staff and students during school hours.”
dr. Alison Walker, medical director of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “Having publicly accessible defibrillators in every school should be a priority as the data clearly shows it could save many more lives. If every defibrillator is available 24/7 and registered on ‘The Circuit’, the British Heart Foundation’s National Defibrillator Database, ambulance services can quickly direct people to the nearest device.
“It is far too low to make only 13% of school defibs publicly accessible. As a pre-hospital emergency physician, I know how important it is for a cardiac arrest patient to receive CPR and early defibrillation as soon as possible. We absolutely support the call for all defibs to be made publicly available.”
For more information: www.warwick.ac.uk/ohcao