Automatic External Defibrillators

Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) have been placed in a variety of public locations nationwide, including airports. A study by Roccia, et al published in the Journal of Dental Education, evaluated the effect of training on successful operation of an AED to determine if lack of training influences patient outcomes when using an AED. Of particular interest is whether a member of the general population can successfully operate such a device in an emergency situation. An AED trainer administered timed trials of 50 people from 5 categories. The categories were (1) representatives of the general population; (2) first-year dental students; (3) third-year dental students; (4) dentists, hygienists, and nurses; and (5) anesthesiologists and surgeons. The trials documented time required, success in defibrillation, and comments. Failure was defined as not successfully following the written, pictured, and verbal prompts of the AED in compliance with the universal steps of the American Heart Association. The study found that there was a significant inverse relationship between training and failure. Failure rates were 80% for the general population; 60% for first-year dental students; 30% for third-year dental students; 20% for dental professionals and nurses; and 10% for anesthesiologists and surgeons. The authors conclude that public exposure to AEDs and education are required to improve the lifesaving potential of these devices.

(Source: Dental Abstracts, Vol. 49, No. 4, 2004)