Each year, 5,000 people in Denmark suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) – 4,400 of them do not survive. Seventy-five percent of cardiac arrests happen in private homes without access to an automated external defibrillator(AED). Despite a steady increase in publicly available AEDs over the past two decades, patient survival after OHCA is still low.
The Inspiration Behind the Innovation
The number of registered AEDs in Denmark has increased from 0 in 2001 to 20,300 in 2020. However, only 8.7% of people suffering from OHCA are defibrillated prior to an ambulance arriving, and only 14% of them survive beyond 30 days of the incident. Studies suggest that defibrillation within 3 minutes of cardiac arrest combined with early CPR can increase the survival rate to over 70%.
Multiple initiatives have increased the rate of bystander CPR from 20% in 2001 to 80% in 2020 – but while public AEDs have become more widely available, defibrillation rates remain low. This is because the majority of OHCAs occur in private homes where AEDs are not readily accessible, largely because the size, cost and servicing requirements of the devices makes private ownership unfeasible. The project team believes that every home should be able to afford an AED.
This project aims to produce a small, economical, reliable and easy-to-use AED specifically for use in private homes– where the majority of OHCAs occur. This single-use device will be capable of performing multiple defibrillations for a single cardiac arrest, eliminating the service requirements of existing solutions. Advanced features (e.g. complex connectivity subscriptions, pressure depth monitoring, hi-res displays), which are not proven to make AEDs more effective, will be replaced with important evidence-based functionality that’s proven to improve patient outcomes. These changes will enable broader availability of AEDs, particularly to patients with heart disease, by significantly reducing their cost. This solution could significantly increase early defibrillation rates – and thereby improve patients’ chances of survival after OHCA.
Lars Grønlykke: MD, PhD; Department of Cardiothoracic Anesthesia, Copenhagen University Hospital – Rigshospitalet
Sebastian Wiberg: MD, PhD; Department of Cardiothoracic Anesthesia, Copenhagen University Hospital – Rigshospitalet
Mikkel Herold Madsen: MD, PhD; Department of Anesthesia, Copenhagen University Hospital – Rigshospitalet