According to the American Heart Association, cardiac arrest strikes up to 350,000 victims each year in the US and up to 85% of those occur outside of the hospital setting. The most important variable affecting sudden cardiac arrest survival rates is the time it takes to deliver the first AED shock. Public health research describes the importance of delivering the first shock within 3 minutes of the moment an individual experiences SCA.
To meet this public health objective, AEDs have been placed in many public settings.
Today, publicly available, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are rarely retrieved and used because bystanders can’t see them and 911 dispatchers are typically unaware they are nearby. In fact, public access AEDs are only used to help an estimated 5% of all sudden cardiac arrest victims – typically only when a device is clearly visible within about 50 feet of the victim’s location. Dispatcher knowledge of the whereabouts of nearby AEDs can increase the effective coverage range of each AED from 50 feet (direct line of sight) to 600 feet (available at a brisk minute walk). Knowing AED location information enables 911 agencies to help increase the number of times AEDs are used.
There is a difference between AED registration and notifications. A notification is required by law and means that the basic information (existence, location, and type of AED) has been sent to the local emergency medical service agency by email or fax. This information may or may not be used by the agency—sometimes it is filed away as a hard copy and other times it may be entered into a data table.
A registration, on the other hand, is much more efficient and very important. A true registration means that the agency has their own forms or online system and incorporates the notification requirement. At times, information such as signatures, trained responder information, and additional AED details (as well as medical director information) may be required, as well. This information may or may not be put into an interactive database that would, if efficient, prompt details for a 911 operator during a sudden cardiac arrest call. For this reason, registering your AED is important and a notification is not equal to a registration. In addition, a company might say they will perform a notification, but what does that really mean? This all depends on what the local EMS or 911 call center is doing with the information that is supplied.
For this reason, the existence of a national registry of AED information is crucial. PlusTrac™ has launched the National AED Registry™. The Registry is the first and only national database resource specifically designed to help improve sudden cardiac arrest survival rates by rapidly linking AEDs, AED users, and sudden cardiac arrest victims.
The Registry serves as a repository of important data about AEDs and related AED program personnel and infrastructure, including information about:
- Individuals responsible for managing AED program sites and inspecting AEDs
- The identity of AEDs by the manufacturer, make/model and serial number
- The whereabouts of AEDs by physical address and specific placement location
- Specific days and times of AED availability
- The type and expiration dates of AED batteries and AED electrodes
Organizations that are registered in the National AED Registry™ receive the benefits of being available for EMS/911 location services, where available, through the AEDLink™ Dispatch software.