Author Affiliations: Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass (Dr Brown); and the Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga (Dr Kellermann).
Controversies Section Editor: Phil B. Fontanarosa,
MD, Executive Deputy Editor.
The first successful electrical defibrillation was described in 1947,
when Claude Beck used open-chest massage and alternating current internal
defibrillation to resuscitate a 14-year-old boy whose heart was in ventricular
fibrillation.1 Immediate defibrillation is
now considered the standard of care for treatment of ventricular fibrillation
and should be undertaken before initiation of other advanced life support
measures, such as endotracheal intubation. It has been clearly shown that
the interval from cardiac arrest to defibrillation is a major determinant
of successful resuscitation and survival to hospital discharge. With each
minute that defibrillation is delayed, the chances of successful resuscitation
decrease by 2% to 10%.2 It is therefore vital
that defibrillation be attempted as early as possible.
Brown J, Kellerman AL. The Shocking Truth About Automated External Defibrillators. JAMA. 2000;284(11):1438-1441. doi:10.1001/jama.284.11.1438