This study confirms that there are substantially increased rates of survival following Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) when Automatic External Defibrillators (AED’s) are present in a sports centre, re-enforcing the need for educational programmes aiming at making them widely available.
SCA is an issue amongst both recreational athletes and those in competitive sports. It is the leading cause of death on the field of play with exercise having been identified as trigger of lethal arrhythmias. This study has shown that the presence of an on-site AED significantly reduces the ‘time to shock’ and is an independent predictor of survival with favourable neurological outcome.
When an AED was present ‘neurologically intact’ survival rates were reported to be 93% in centres with on-site AED’s but only 9% in centres without an AED (P<0.001). The presence of an on-site AED, the presence of a shockable rhythm, early assistance from a lay bystander and time to defibrillation were all related to neurologically intact survival. The presence of on-site AED was the only independent predictor in the multivariate analysis. The use of on-site AED resulted in a lower time to first shock when compared with emergency medical system-delivered AED (3.3±1.4min vs 7.3±3.2 min; P=0.001)
In this study, more than half of the first shocks were delivered by a non-trained individual. This highlights the importance of education programmes for the football public, as well as the need for clear instructions about where AED’s are stored. The first rhythm was shockable in the majority of patients (93%) when an on-site AED was attached (compared to only 63% in sites where an AED was not on-site).
Based on this evidence FIFA’s ongoing efforts to have AED’s available on all sidelines, as well the facilitation of SCA education programmes, are essential in increasing survival rates.
Aschieri D, Penela D, Pelizzoni V, et al. Outcomes after sudden cardiac arrest in sports centres with and without on-site external defibrillators.
Heart Published Online First: 20 February 2018. doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2017-312441.