Upstate News

October 11, 2000
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

National Public Access Defibrillation study will take place at 40 sites throughout Central New York

Researchers at SUNY Upstate Medical University, supported by a $298,000 federal grant, will participate in a national two-year study to assess how the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) by trained volunteers compares to the use of CPR in responding to sudden cardiac arrests in public places.

“This study will attempt to determine whether automatic external defibrillators used by trained volunteers in public places will lessen the number of deaths associated with sudden cardiac arrest,” said the study’s principal investigator David Reed, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at SUNY Upstate.

Researchers will identify 40 locations across Central New York to participate in the study. Twenty sites will be selected at random for volunteers to be trained in the current standard of care, CPR. The remaining 20 sites will be equipped with AEDs and volunteers will be trained in their use as well as CPR. All training in AED and CPR use will be conducted by personnel from SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

If someone suffers a cardiac arrest at a site equipped with AED, the trained volunteers will call 9-1-1 to request an ambulance and then begin using CPR and the AED while awaiting the arrival of an emergency medical team.

If an individual suffers a cardiac arrest at a CPR site, trained volunteers will call 9 1-1 and begin administering CPR while awaiting arrival of an emergency medical team.

“For purposes of our study we will follow these individuals through their hospitalization and for months after they are discharged to see whether there are differences in the health of those who were initially treated with an AED from those treated with CPR,” Reed said.

The first two sites to participate in the study will be Shoppingtown Mall in DeWitt and Great Northern Mall in Clay. Additional sites will be brought into the study in the coming months. “In order for the study to be a success, we have identified sites where large groups of people gather, whether they be at workout facilities, shopping centers, businesses or apartment complexes,” Reed said. (See attached sheet for listing of additional sites.)

In Onondaga County, approximately 1,300 deaths annually are attributed to cardiovascular disease. Many of these occur as a “sudden death” event, when the heart converts from its normal pumping rhythm, to a non-pumping state called ventricular fibrillation. Individuals in this rhythm can survive only up to 4-6 minutes, unless an intervention such as CPR or early defibrillation takes place. Survival from cardiac arrest is largely dependent upon rapid delivery of a defibrillating shock to the victim, Reed noted.

“Whether this can best be achieved by training laypersons to use an AED, or to expedite the care of the patient to early paramedic intervention is a fundamental question the study will attempt to answer,” Reed said. “While complete results of this study are not expected for several years, health experts and policymakers will look to the results to measure the life-saving potential and cost-effectiveness of public access defibrillation.”

The two-year study is funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in collaboration with the American Heart Association.

Syracuse is one of 24 cities throughout North America selected to participate in the study. Others are Birmingham, Ala; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Chicago; Cincinnati; Indianapolis; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Mission Viejo, Calif; New York City; Newark, Del.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore; Richmond, Va.; Seattle; Palm Springs and Riverside, Calif; Stony Brook, N.Y.; Virginia Beach, Va.; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Washington, D.C.; Salt Lake City; Detroit; and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The trial is being coordinated through the University of Washington.

Involvement by individuals in a research project requires them to give their informed consent to be in the study. Because of the nature of this study, this would be impossible. A waiver of informed consent has been approved for the study by the SUNY Upstate Medical University Institutional Review Board (IRB), allowing volunteers to do CPR or use AED without the person’s informed consent. Questions regarding the waiver of consent and community notification process should be directed to the Upstate Medical University IRB Office at 464-4317. Any questions from the public regarding the PAD study should be directed to Health Connections at 1-800-464-8668.

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