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Defibrillation is the only effective treatment of cardiac arrest with a shockable rhythm (ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia). Defibrillation success declines by approximately 10% for each minute that defibrillation is delayed when there are no chest compressions.1 Cardiopulmonary resuscitation with high-quality chest compressions with minimal interruption are also important. Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are easy to use, identify the cardiac arrest rhythm and advise a defibrillatory shock, if appropriate. They can be used by individuals without medical training to shorten the time to defibrillation and improve survival for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.2 AEDs are also widely deployed in hospitals as most staff do not have the rhythm recognition skills to use a manual defibrillator. As opposed to out-of-hospital arrests, most in-hospital cardiac arrests have non-shockable rhythms (asystole or pulseless electrical activity) that do not respond to defibrillation. There are few studies of outcomes following in-hospital AED use. …
Competing interests BG has no conflicting interests. JS is the current chair of the Resuscitation Council (UK), task force co-chair for the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) and an editor of the journal Resuscitation. He has no relationship with any AED manufacturer.