Defibrillator use delays common, harmful

Too often, hospital patients with ventricular arrhythmias aren't treated with defibrillators soon enough, a problem that may have an impact on their survival, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers found that more than 30 percent of ventricular arrhythmia patients studied waited longer than two minutes, the nationally-recommended interval, to get treated with defibrillators. Death rates among those patients were much higher than those who got defibrillation promptly, with just 22 percent of patients surviving with delayed defibrillation, compared with 39 percent who got it in time. Researchers drew this conclusion after studying the records of 6,789 patients with ventricular arrhythmia-induced cardiac arrest at 369 acute-care hospitals between January 2000 and July 2005.

For more study data:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)