Majority of the public unwilling to use AEDs: study

February 10, 2011

Amsterdam, Netherlands – Less than one-half of people in a public place with access to an automated external defibrillator would be willing to use it, even though studies have repeatedly proven the devices’ effectiveness in aiding cardiac arrest victims, a Dutch study suggests. The study, released Feb. 3, found 53 percent of people would not even recognize an AED.

“In our study, only 28 percent of participants correctly identified the AED, knew its purpose and expressed a willingness to use it,” said lead study author Patrick Schober. “AEDs are actually very easy to use, but it is obvious that the public has not gotten that message.”

Only 34 percent of study participants believed that anyone is allowed to use an AED; approximately half believed the device could only be used by a trained medical professional. Not knowing how it works was the reason 69 percent of study participants expressed unwillingness to use an AED, and 14 percent believed attempting to use one could harm the patient.

The study was published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.