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Published on 17/01/2003

Austria, January 2003, a huge campaign is launched to underline the importance of immediate use of a defibrillator in case of heart attack. The Austrian Red Cross and its campaign partners - the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, BP, Raiffeisen-bank and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber - have obtained impressive results: today, nearly 70% of the Austrian population know what a defibrillator is and the importance to use it if necessary (Survey data: 2000 persons, age > 15 years).

The Austrian law does not prohibit the use of AEDs by lay persons under some circumstances and as the Austrian Red Cross plays a key role in Austrian ambulance services, it seemed important to start an information and educational programme. The Austrian Red Cross does not only sell the defibrillators, but also gives advice to use them, indicates where they should be located and gives first-aid training including the way to use a defibrillator (over 1500 devices have been bought by Austrian companies and organisations since the start of the campaign). This campaign (= more than 200 commercials - TV and Radio, adverts in printed media) includes a research team (scientific committee, steering committee and ethics commission) to prove the immediate use of a defibrillator is a first-aid method.

Austria has a population of approximately 8 million persons, what means that 5000 defibrillators should be located in high frequented places and the defibrillator should be as well known as a fire extinguisher: if it is used between 2-3 minutes after the heart attack, the chance to survive increase by 70%. At this moment, in Austria, there are more than 200 000 persons trained for the use of a defibrillator, the Austrian Red Cross has included this training in each of its 16 - and more - hours courses. Till December 2003, 40 persons were treated with a defibrillator during first-aid, 10 of the 20 patients in VF/VT survived until hospital discharge with good neurological outcome.


Austrian Red Cross

Mr. Gerry Foitik

Wiedner Hauptstrasse 32

1041 Wien - Austria

tel: +43 1 58900 131 Fax: +43 1 58900 199

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