Algorithm May Improve Defibrillation and Save Lives

Algorithm cuts down on time needed for an AED to diagnose heart rhythm

Researchers at the University of the Basque Country in Northern Spain have developed an algorithm to cut down the time it takes an AED to diagnose heart rhythm from 9 seconds to 3 seconds.

As you may know, an automated external defibrillator or AED measures heart rhythm to determine if a defibrillation shock is necessary. The new algorithm has the potential to reduce the time a rescuer would need to pause between chest compressions while allowing the AED to determine heart rhythm.

It should be noted that this algorithm relies on traditional CPR techniques which include 30 compressions over a period of 20 seconds followed by two rescue breaths that last approximately five seconds. The algorithm would be programmed into AEDs to take readings during the rescue breaths. Currently, rescuers are advised to take a break every two minutes to allow the AED to perform rhythm analysis.

As Hands-Only CPR has become increasingly popular in the United States, it will be interesting to see how this new technology may be able to adapt. Hands-Only CPR was established due to findings that CPR was as effective without rescue breaths as well as the understanding that more members of the public would be willing to administer CPR if rescue breaths were not required. We imagine that with the new algorithm, rescuers performing Hands-Only CPR would be instructed to take a five second break every twenty seconds or so in order to allow the AED to perform its reading.

At, we are proud to continually bring you the best in AED technology like the recently released fully automatic Zoll AED Plus. We will keep you posted on how this new algorithm is used in AED technology. Currently, it has been implemented in the REANIBEX 800, a manual defibrillator sold exclusively in Europe and Asia. We hope the algorithm becomes available for use in American market AEDs in the near future.