External Automatic Defibrillators: Evaluation and Comparison

Completed 2007


Survival in cardiac arrest patients is low, but early defibrillation has been shown to improve survival rates, especially when intervention is delivered within 8 minutes from the onset of the cardiac arrest. However, for out-of-hospital settings, and in certain areas within a hospital, trained personnel and their equipment may not be available within 8 minutes. This implies that ‘first responders’ should take up the responsibility of delivering the shock, which for out-of-hospital settings, usually means bystanders, and for hospital settings, nurses. Most of these first responders are not trained to read electrocardiograms, identify shockable heart rhythms, and operate defibrillators. However, an automated external defibrillator (AED) is a relatively novel device that can be used by first responders to analyze a heart rhythm and deliver a shock if needed.

Given the need for guidance as to the settings in which AEDs are the most cost effective, OHTAC was asked to review a health technology policy assessment, compiled by the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS), pertaining to the use of AEDs in the initial management of cardiac arrest patients. This study evaluated and made recommendations regarding the human factors issues associated with AEDs.

Funding Agency

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Project Sponsor

Tony Easty


Refereed Proceedings:

Chagpar, A., Jessa, M., Cafazzo, J., Easty, A. (2007, Jun). The danger is in the details when evaluating AEDs. Proceedings of the 30th Conference of the Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering Society.


University Health Network

Medical Advisory Secretariat, Ministry of Health and Long-term Care

Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC)

Project Team

Anjum Chagpar

Munira Jessa

Joe Cafazzo

Tony Easty


For more information about this project, contact:

Tony Easty