Practice Guideline Briefs

AHA Advisory Statement on Public Access Defibrillator

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Am Fam Physician. 2005 Nov 1;72(9):1913-1917.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has released an advisory statement to highlight the findings of the Public Access Defibrillation Trial, which studied the effects of lay rescuer automated external defibrillators (public access defibrillation). The trial was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the AHA, and others. The full report was published in the June 21, 2005, issue of Circulation.

The trial findings, which included outcomes of more than 200 episodes of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest with attempted resuscitation, supported the AHA’s current guidelines for public defibrillator use. The guidelines emphasize the importance of program planning, rescuer training, linking with local emergency medical service systems, device maintenance, and quality improvement monitoring. The AHA is currently reviewing the trial results to refine its recommendations for resuscitation and lay rescuer automated external defibrillator programs. More information on public defibrillation programs is available online at

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