The objectives were to identify the components of a program to deliver early defibrillation that optimizes the effectiveness of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in out-of-hospital and hospital settings, to determine whether AEDs are cost-effective, and if cost-effectiveness was determined, to advise on how they should be distributed in Ontario.
An AED is a device that can analyze a heart rhythm and deliver a shock if needed. Thus, AEDs can be used by first responders to deliver early defibrillation in out-of-hospital and hospital settings. However, simply providing an AED would not likely improve survival outcomes. Rather, AEDs have a role in strengthening the “chain of survival,” which includes prompt activation of the 911 telephone system, early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), rapid defibrillation, and timely advanced life support.