Arming police with AEDs could double chances of survival

May 3, 2001

A Miami-Dade County study presented at the 22nd Annual Scientific Sessions of the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (NASPE) suggests that rates of survival from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) could double if police officers carry automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

"The difference is that, typically, the police get to the scene more than two minutes faster than the paramedics, because they are already out there on the road, and for sudden cardiac arrest, every second counts," said Robert J. Myerburg, MD, professor of medicine and physiology and director of the division of cardiology at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

During a five-month period in 1999, every police officer in Miami-Dade County was trained and equipped with an AED. Police and emergency medical services were dispatched simultaneously to potential SCA calls from July 1999 through November 2000. Police arrived first 76% of the time. The survival rate from SCA due to ventricular fibrillation increased from 9.6 percent to 18.3 percent.