Onsite, dispatched or no AED: Differences in costs, survival

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Onsite automated external defibrillator (AED) use was associated with higher survival rates and lower total costs, according to a study in the June issue of Resuscitation.

Jocelyn Berdowskia, MSc, and colleagues from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands conducted an observational prospective study that included all treated out-of-hospital cardiac arrests of suspected cardiac cause.

They collected clinical, survival and cost data from July 2005 until March 2008. Cost data were based on hospital transport, duration of admission in hospital wards, diagnostics and interventions. The endpoint was survival to discharge.

Researchers divided the study population of 2,126 into three groups based on AED use:

  • onsite AED (136 total),
  • dispatched AED (365), and
  • no AED (1,625).

Overall survival rate was 43 percent, 16 percent and 14 percent, respectively. The difference for having an onsite AED was significant.

Per 100 survivors, the mean duration admitted at the intensive care unit were 267, 495 and 537 days, respectively. Total duration of hospital admission was 2,188, 3,132 and 2,765 days, respectively. The difference in both duration metrics were significant for onsite AED use.

There was a significant difference in mean costs per survivor for hospital stay: $11,000, $17,000 and $16,000, respectively. Total healthcare costs were approximately $36,000, $42,000 and $38,000, respectively.

For both survivors and non-survivors, total costs per patient were $18,000, $9,400 and $8,000, respectively.

The researchers concluded that not only did onsite AED use result in a higher survival rate, but it also resulted in lower total costs, mainly due to the shorter ICU stay.