RCUK welcomes ILCOR Scientific Statement on Public-Access Defibrillation

RCUK welcomes the publication of ILCOR’s Scientific Statement on Public-Access Defibrillation, published in Circulation and Resuscitation.

‘Optimizing Outcomes After Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest with Innovative Approaches to Public -Access Defibrillation: A Scientific Statement From the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation’ aimed to:

  • identify known barriers to public-access defibrillator use and early defibrillation
  • discuss established and novel strategies to address those barriers
  • identify high-priority knowledge gaps for future research to address.

The statement acknowledges that Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) have saved countless lives around the world and that the potential health benefits to be gained from increasing AED application rates are substantial.

The statement highlights that it is unlikely that any individual strategy for improving public access defibrillation will be sufficient. A multi-layered approach is needed that includes:

  • improving early detection of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest
  • improving public awareness and willingness to use AEDs
  • optimising AED availability, reliability and usability
  • AED registration
  • AED signage
  • novel approaches to AED delivery eg drones 
  • mobile apps for AED retrieval
  • personal or home access defibrillation.

The statement sets out a number of knowledge gaps that need further investigation and policy suggestions to improve public-access defibrillation implementation.  
Three of RCUK’s Executive Committee members were involved in the development this consensus statement. These were Professor Gavin Perkins, Professor Charles Deakin and Dr Christopher Smith. 

Professor Gavin Perkins, Chair of RCUK’s CARe sub-committee said: “RCUK welcomes ILCOR’s scientific statement on public-access defibrillation. Evidence shows that people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest with a nearby AED are three times more likely to receive bystander defibrillation and twice as likely to survive as those without a defibrillator nearby. However, currently across the UK, an AED is used in 5% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

“We want to save more lives from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and ensure that people have an equitable chance of survival wherever they live across the UK. There are multiple opportunities to address existing barriers with new approaches to public-access AED program implementation, including changing public attitudes, improving availability of defibrillators, improving integration with existing emergency dispatch, enhancing AED housing, signage, and device technology, and exploring novel AED delivery routes.

“We urge charities, policy and public officials, researchers, businesses and community groups, to read the ILCOR statement and use the recommendations presented to establish best practice when planning programmes and areas of work relating to defibrillation, or investing in public-access defibrillators.”

RCUK has a range of resources relating to defibrillation, to aid decision-making.