Objective. Since July 2004, it has become legal in Japan for laypersons to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs). We investigated the effect of AED installation in commonly used areas of Japanese Association for Acute Medicine accredited training (JAAM) hospitals. Methods. In 2008, we sent questionnaires to 419 JAAM hospitals enquiring about the systems, operations, outcome and characteristics of AED usage. Results. Valid responses were received from 271 hospitals (64.7%). A total of 251 (92.8%) hospitals installed AEDs, mostly in the outpatient departments. These AEDs could also be used by laypersons. Operational responsibility was mostly assumed by the medical emergency center staff. The Engineering Department was in charge of AED maintenance. Of the surveyed hospitals, 65.5% reported having guidelines for usage. The percentages of hospitals which kept records of AED use and outcomes were low. A total of 66.2% reported having a rapid response team and 98.1% provided a non-standardized resuscitation education program. In 68.3% of hospitals, an AED had been used. AEDs were used not only by medical doctors but also by other health professionals. Among the patients who received AED defibrillation, 42.5% survived without neurological deficit. Conclusion. The utilization of AEDs, installed in commonly used areas of JAAM hospitals, has shown beneficial and effective outcomes for improving the resuscitation and survival of patients who experience in-hospital cardiac arrest. AEDs can be used not only by doctors but also by laypersons, making them more accessible and useful. The strategic installation of AEDs can make hospitals safer.
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