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Strategic placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public locations

Professor Judith Finn, Institution: Curtin University

2018 Vanguard Grant

Years funded: 2019-2020


Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) affects approximately 25,000 Australians per year, of which only 10% survive. Bystander use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) is one of the key opportunities for increasing survival from OHCA. However, to effect the greatest benefit in this time-critical situation, AEDs must be retrievable within minutes of an arrest. Previously this has been proposed as equivalent to a maximum distance of 100 metres from the scene. For most OHCA cases in Australia, the current distribution of AEDs in the community is too sparse for this level of access, and rates of AED use by bystanders in OHCAs occurring in public locations remain low (less than 20% of all OHCAs occurring in public locations).

The purpose of this project is to identify optimal locations for placement of additional AEDs in the community. First, we will map and compare the locations and timing of cardiac arrests against the locations and hours-of-access of existing public-access AEDs. We will then map and examine alternate locations, such as franchises (e.g. 7-Eleven), banks, and petrol stations to identify businesses and organisations that could be used as AED sites.

This project will help ensure that future investment in public-access AEDs is strategic in relation to where and when cardiac arrests occur, so that more OHCA patients receive timely defibrillation by bystanders, and therefore more patients survive with good functional outcomes.

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