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News Release, American Heart Association

DALLAS, Nov. 11, 2019 — Implementing citizen responder programs to answer calls for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests may increase bystander defibrillation in private homes, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Resuscitation Science Symposium 2019 — November 16-17 in Philadelphia.

AED – Wall-mounted close up Horizontal Close up of wall-mounted AED copyright American Heart Association

Most out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in residential areas, whereautomated external defibrillator(AED) devices are rarely available. Researchers in Denmark evaluated whether dispatching “citizen responders” to retrieve publicly accessible AEDs to these cardiac arrests through a smartphone application could increase bystander defibrillation. Citizen responders are volunteers registered with the app to either startbystander CPRor retrieve and use an AED in the event of a nearby cardiac arrest.

The yearlong study, initiated in September 2017, found that citizen responders in the capital region of Denmark arrived before the emergency medical services (EMS) team in 40% of all residential cardiac arrests and performed bystander defibrillation in nearly 50% of all bystander defibrillated cases.

“The findings are observational and cannot describe the full effect of a citizen responder program, however, these results emphasize that citizen responders have the potential to increase bystander defibrillation in residential cardiac arrests,” said the study’s first author Linn Andelius, an M.D., Ph.D. student at Copenhagen Emergency Medical Services. “Bystander defibrillation increases rates of survival — and survival with the good neurological outcome — in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.”

“When we implemented the citizen responder program, we hoped to increase the use of AEDs for residential cardiac arrests, since bystander defibrillation has been low in these areas for many years,” Andelius said. “We hoped there would be an increase in bystander defibrillation, and it is impressive that the citizen responders can arrive before the ambulance in 4 out of 10 cases, and most importantly, perform defibrillation in almost half of all bystander defibrillated patients. These preliminary results are truly very promising.”

CPR training copyright American Heart Association

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect Association policy or position. The Association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The Association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events.

The Association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/aha-financial-information.

The American Heart Association’s Resuscitation Science Symposium (ReSS) is a premier global exchange providing transdisciplinary interactions that rapidly translate advances in the resuscitation field from fundamental to translational to clinical to population science. For the first time, the 2019 Resuscitation Science Symposium will be a two-day international stand-alone conference, Nov. 16-17 at The Philadelphia 201 Hotel in Philadelphia.

The audience will include emergency physicians, trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons, cardiologists, critical-care nurses, intensivists, emergency medical providers, resuscitation educators and researchers with basic, bioengineering, clinical or other experience related to treating cardiac arrest and trauma.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...