Assessment of existing layperson knowledge on the role and use of an AEDs in amateur sports clubs: A systematic review of the literature

  • Paul Ryan University College Cork
  • Eanna Falvey UCC
Keywords: Emergency Medicine, Community Medicine, Sports Medicine


Introduction: Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) causes up to 5000 deaths each year in Ireland.  70% of cardiac arrests in Ireland occur out of hospital. Global incidence of out-of-hospital SCA ranges from 20-140/100000 people, and survival ranges from 2%-11%. The large increase in Automated External Defibrillator (AED) distribution and availability has led to an increasing interest into layperson recognition of and response to SCA.

Objectives: The purpose of this paper is to systematically review previously conducted studies relating to knowledge, understanding and attitudes among laypersons in relation to the use of an AED in the event of a SCA. This review aims to assess and critically appraise the existing literature relating to this topic on a global level in order to identify future research directions with an aim to improving layperson recognition of and response to SCA.

Methods: Studies were identified through an electronic database search in combination with expert recommendation.  A three-step selection process was applied to determine applicability to this review.

Results: Ten studies were reviewed and critiqued.  Three themes emerged:

  1. Knowledge and understanding of the concept of an AED.
  2. Willingness to use an AED in the event of a SCA.
  3. Reasons for unwillingness to use an AED in the event of a SCA.

Results were compiled and discussed.

Conclusion: There is a paucity of literature relating to layperson understanding of AED function and use. The evidence suggests only a minority of laypersons would be confident or willing to use an AED in the event of a nearby SCA. The extent to which an educational intervention could impact upon layperson understanding and confidence in use of an AED is poorly understood at present.

Keywords: AED; layperson; public; understanding; attitudes; knowledge; awareness.



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How to Cite
Ryan, P., & Falvey, E. (2017). Assessment of existing layperson knowledge on the role and use of an AEDs in amateur sports clubs: A systematic review of the literature. Res Medica, 24(1), 17-34.
Systematic Reviews