Awareness of guidelines for use of automated external defibrillators in children within emergency medical services

Sarah E. Haskell, Melanie A. Kenney, Sonali Patel, Teri L. Sanddal, Katrina L. Altenhofen, Nels D. Sanddal, Dianne L. Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Ventricular fibrillation occurs in 10-20% of pediatric cardiac arrests. Survival rates in children with ventricular fibrillation can be as high as 30% when the rhythm is identified and treated promptly. In the last 5 years, recommendations have been made for the use of automated external defibrillators in children between 1 and 8 years of age. Objective: The goal of this study was to determine the awareness of the ILCOR guidelines and statewide protocols concerning AED use in children ages 1-8 among emergency medical providers after new guideline release. Availability of pediatric capable AED equipment was also assessed. Methods: Surveys were distributed to EMS providers in Iowa and Montana within 1 year of the ILCOR advisory statement in 2003 recommending use of AEDs in children ages 1-8, and again approximately 1 year after the 2005 ILCOR guidelines on cardiopulmonary resuscitation were published. In Iowa, there were concentrated efforts to disseminate information about AED use in children, while there were minimal efforts in Montana. Results: Awareness of ILCOR guidelines for use of AEDs in children was low in both states in 2003 (29% in Iowa vs. 9% in Montana, p < 0.001). After release of the 2005 guidelines, awareness improved significantly in both states but was still significantly greater in Iowa (83% vs. 60%, p < 0.002). In 2003, less than 20% of respondents in both states reported access to pediatric capable AEDs. Availability of pediatric pads and cables increased significantly in 2006 but remained low in Montana (74% in Iowa vs. 37% in Montana, p < 0.001). Conclusions: At the present time, publication of new or interim guidelines in the scientific literature alone is insufficient to ensure that new protocols are implemented. An effective and efficient method to disseminate new pediatric out-of-hospital protocols emergency care to become standard of care in a timely matter must be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-359
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Automated external defibrillator
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Children
  • Education
  • Guidelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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