Hospital visitors who experience cardiac arrest wait much longer than admitted patients for defibrillation, according to new research. In fact, people who experience cardiac arrest in a casino or airport terminal may be better off than those stricken in a hospital lobby or other hospital public area.
In the study of 749 episodes of cardiorespiratory arrest at one hospital during a 2-year time period, a researcher found that hospitalized patients underwent defibrillation within about 2.5 minutes. In contrast, six visitors who went into cardiac arrest in public areas at the hospital waited 12.3 minutes for defibrillation.
In one previous study, researchers found an average collapse-to-first-shock time of 4.4 minutes in Las Vegas, Nev., casinos where security officers had been trained to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
Research is now underway to determine if response times can be improved by placing AEDs in hospital public areas.
Cardiac arrest of nonpatients within hospital public areas, American Journal of Cardiology, BD Adams, June 1, 2005; Outcomes of rapid defibrillation by security officers after cardiac arrest in casinos, The New England Journal of Medicine, TD Valenzuela, et al., October 26, 2000.