Having defibrillators installed in public places may save lives of cardiac patients, cardiologists believe.
The defibrillators work by delivering a controlled electric shock through the chest wall to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat after a cardiac arrest.
Modern defibrillators are becoming increasingly quick and easy for the layman to use, which can mean difference between life and death.
Scientists analyzed data before and after machines were placed in the community in Canada's Brescia city. In the year 2000, over 2,000 people in Brescia were trained how to use a defibrillator, reported online edition of BBC News.
After analyzing nearly 1,400 cardiac arrest victims, the researchers of Milan, Brescia and Washington universities found one in 100 survived to a year after their attack without any neurological problems before 2000, compared to three in 100 after, says the study which has appeared in the European Heart Journal.
If the response time for using defibrillators was shortened to within eight minutes, it would save the lives of 15 out of 100 people who collapse with cardiac arrest, the researchers said.
Lead researcher Riccardo Cappato said: "There was an increase in survival for patients in both urban and rural areas, although it was significantly larger in the city than the countryside due to the shorter response time and larger number of defibrillators available."
More than 2,000 defibrillators have been earmarked for public places, such as airports, railway and underground stations, coach stations, ferry ports and shopping centres, across Britain.
The move was introduced to help increase the survival rates of the seven in 10 cardiac arrests that happen outside hospital.