Intended for healthcare professionals


Automated external defibrillators in the workplace

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 08 October 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1816
  1. Alexis Descatha, occupational and emergency physician1,
  2. Michel Baer, director of university degree for occupational physicians2
  1. 1UVSQ-AP-HP, Occupational Health Unit/INSERM U687, Prehospital Emergency Medical System of Department 92 (“SAMU 92”), Raymond Poincare University Hospital, F-92380 Garches, France
  2. 2AP-HP, Prehospital Emergency Medical System of Department 92 (SAMU 92)
  1. alexis.descatha{at}

    Uptake must be supported by a detailed programme of implementation

    The evidence, as reported in guidelines from the European Resuscitation Council (ERC),1 that using automated external defibrillators in the management of cardiac arrest outside of hospital improves survival is strong. Because the survival rate decreases exponentially as the interval between cardiac arrest and defibrillation increases, the locations of first responders (people trained to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation who are not part of a professional emergency response system) and automated external defibrillators are particularly important. However, controversy surrounds the recommended sites for these defibrillators and the personnel who need to be trained in their use.2

    Placing defibrillators in the workplace is controversial because cardiac arrest rarely occurs in this setting. This may explain the small number of studies—a review found only one specific original (retrospective) study on this subject and six others that studied defibrillators in various settings, including the workplace.2 3 4 5 6 7 Only 1-6% of all reported out of hospital cardiac arrests occurred in the workplace, and the proportion varied according to …

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