They're not situated in the hot spots where people spend most of their time," says Laurie Morrison, a professor of emergency medicine at U of T and an emergency medicine doctor at St. Michael's Hospital.
From December 2005 to July 2010, Morrison
and her U of T
colleagues tracked the locations of the 1,310 cardiac arrests that occurred in public locations in Toronto and their proximity to registered defibrillators.
acknowledges that defibrillator use during cardiac arrests is influenced by other factors: if more defibrillators were registered, emergency services could locate them quickly when needed; many are stored in inaccessible locations, and building staff don't know where they are; and there are no government policies or guidelines on the optimal number and placement of most defibrillators.
Finally bystanders tend to be reluctant to use them.
The researchers say any initiative to promote public defibrillator use should include a public awareness campaign focusing on using the device in conjunction with CPR.
and co-researchers Timothy Chan and Steven Brooks are now continuing their research by studying how placing defibrillators in areas such as chain stores, bus stops and outdoor swimming pools would further improve the chances that one will be nearby for someone in need.
says, a data-driven approach to placing defibrillators is what's needed to reduce the cardiac arrest death toll.