Public access defibrillation rarely reaches out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients in residential areas. We developed a text message (TM) alert system, dispatching local lay rescuers (TM-responders). We analyzed the functioning of this system, focusing on response times and early defibrillation in relation to other responders.
In July 2013, 14?112 TM-responders and 1550 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were registered in a database residing with the dispatch center of two regions of the Netherlands. TM-responders living <1000?m radius of the patient received a TM to go to the patient directly, or were directed to retrieve an AED first. We analyzed 1536 OHCA patients where a defibrillator was connected from February 2010 until July 2013. Electrocardiograms from all defibrillators were analyzed for connection and defibrillation time.
Of all OHCAs, the dispatcher activated the TM-alert system 893 times (58.1%). In 850 cases ?1 TM-responder received a TM-alert and in 738 cases ?1 AED was available. A TM-responder AED was connected in 184 of all OHCAs (12.0%), corresponding with 23.1% of all connected AEDs. Of all used TM-responder AEDs, 87.5% were used in residential areas, compared to 71.6% of all other defibrillators. TM-responders with AEDs defibrillated mean 2:39 (min:sec) earlier compared to emergency medical services (median interval 8:00 [25–75th percentile, 6:35–9:49] vs. 10:39 [25–75th percentile, 8:18–13:23], P?<?0.001). Of all shocking TM-responder AEDs, 10.5% delivered a shock ?6?min after call.
A TM-alert system that includes local lay rescuers and AEDs contributes to earlier defibrillation in OHCA, particularly in residential areas.