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Effect of automatic external defibrillator audio prompts on cardiopulmonary resuscitation performance
  1. L J Williamson,
  2. P D Larsen,
  3. Y C Tzeng,
  4. D C Galletly
  1. Section of Anaesthesia and Resuscitation, Wellington School of Medicine, PO Box 7343, Wellington, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr P Larsen
 Section of Anaesthesia and Resuscitation, Wellington School of Medicine, PO Box 7343, Wellington, New Zealand;


Objectives: To determine the effectiveness of the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) audio prompts in an automatic external defibrillator in 24 lay subjects, before and after CPR training.

Methods: Untrained subjects were asked to perform CPR on a manikin with and without the assistance of audio prompts. All subjects were then trained in CPR, and retested them eight weeks later.

Results: Untrained subjects who performed CPR first without audio prompts performed poorly, with only (mean (SD)) 24.5% (32%) of compressions at the correct site and depth, a mean compression rate of 52 (31) per minute, and with 15% (32%) of ventilatory attempts adequate. Repeat performance by this group with audio prompts resulted in significant improvements in compression rate (91(12), p = 0.0002, paired t test), and percentage of correct ventilations (47% (40%), p = 0.01 paired t test), but not in the percentage correct compressions (23% (29%)). Those who performed CPR first with audio prompts performed significantly better in compression rate (87 (19), p = 003, unpaired t test), and the percentage of correct ventilations (51 (34), p = 0.003 unpaired t test), but not in the percentage of correct compressions (18 (27)) than those without audio prompts. After training, CPR performance was significantly better than before training, but there was no difference in performance with or without audio prompts, although 73% of subjects commented that they felt more comfortable performing CPR with audio prompts.

Conclusions: For untrained subjects, the quality of CPR may be improved by using this device, while for trained subjects the willingness to perform CPR may be increased.

  • AED, automatic external defibrillator
  • CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • automatic external defibrillator
  • cardiac arrest

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  • Funding: This study was supported by a grant from the Wellington Surgical Research Trust and the Laerdal HeartStart First Aid Defibrillator was supplied by Laerdal, New Zealand.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.