Bystander Defibrillation Boosts Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates


In a recent study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2023, researchers revealed that the timely intervention of bystanders equipped with CPR and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) significantly improves the survival rates of individuals experiencing cardiac arrest, even when ambulances arrive promptly. The study, conducted by Dr. Mathias Hindborg of Nordsjaellands Hospital in Hillerod, Denmark, analyzed data from the Danish Cardiac Arrest Registry, focusing on adults who suffered cardiac arrest in community settings from 2016 to 2020.

Cardiac arrest, often due to irregular heart rhythm, can lead to fatality within minutes if blood flow is not restored. Bystanders can play a vital role by initiating CPR and using AEDs, which deliver electric shocks to restart the heart. The study found that bystander defibrillation led to a 44.5% survival rate at 30 days, compared to 18.8% without defibrillation. This increase in survival held true for ambulance response times of up to 25 minutes, excluding cases where ambulances arrived within two minutes.

The study indicated that the highest survival impact occurred when ambulances took six to eight minutes to reach the scene. These findings provide valuable insights into optimal AED placement. Dr. Hindborg emphasized that “when resources are limited, defibrillators should be located in areas where ambulance response times are likely to be more than six minutes.”


Although presented at a medical meeting, these findings are preliminary and require peer-reviewed publication. The study underscores the significance of quick and effective intervention by bystanders during cardiac emergencies, highlighting the potential to save lives by combining CPR with readily accessible AEDs.