Are survivors getting ICDs?

May 3, 2001

Nearly half of patients who were successfully defibrillated by paramedics or police received permanent implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) to prevent another sudden cardiac arrest event (SCA), according to research presented at the 22nd Annual Scientific Sessions of the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (NASPE). Mayo Clinic researchers, tracking the fate of patients who were defibrillated by police, fire and EMS personnel in Rochester, Minnesota, during a 10-year period, determined that 47 percent of survivors (30 people) were given ICDs due to the high risk of SCA recurrence. Six of the ICD recipients have experienced repeated shocks.

"Every police car in Rochester is equipped with an AED and our study shows the long-term survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest can be very high when a community has a well-organized, prompt emergency defibrillation program," said T. Jared Bunch, M.D., an internist at Mayo Clinic. "It also underscores the importance of ICD implantation to prevent further recurrences for survivors of sudden cardiac arrest."

Co-authors of the paper are Douglas L. Packer, M.D.; and Roger D. White, MD, medical director of the City of Rochester Early Defibrillation Program, the first police defibrillation program in the United States to report outcomes data.