Early defibrillation programs by the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) located in high-attendance public places may improve survival and neurologic outcome of patients undergoing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). We planned a prospective cohort study to assess the effectiveness of a public-access defibrillation program based on positioning of AEDs in churches and training of lay volunteers in Basic Life Support Defibrillation during a single-day 5-hour training session. The CHURCH project aims to promote a widespread diffusion of AEDs, to train a large number of lay volunteers in Basic Life Support Defibrillation, and to increase population awareness on the opportunities for sudden death prevention. The rationale of the study rests on a survey commissioned by the Diocese of Milan that found a high prevalence of elderly subjects (44.5% were >60 years old) attending holy services in the morning hours, when sudden death incidence peaks. The catchment areas of the 12 parishes included in the trial as of June 2008 include a population of 140,000. The projected incidence of AED-treatable SCA, based on the presence of trained volunteers in the churches during day hours, at the CHURCH participating sites was estimated at 8 episodes per year. To estimate an overall 30% mortality reduction from SCA after AED placement at the study sites with respect to conventional SCA management by the Emergency Medical Service, 25 SCA episodes will have to be treated during the 4-year study period. The CHURCH project might be of interest and applicable in every country where high-attendance worship places are present.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine