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In an attempt to reduce the number of people who die from a cardiac arrest in the Stockport area ambulances were equipped with automatic external defibrillator-pacemakers, and ambulance personnel were trained in their use. Over an 18 month period ambulance personnel attended 113 patients in cardiac arrest with these devices. One patient subsequently survived, and three patients survived for up to three days. The reasons for these poor initial results include the failure of bystanders to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a delay in calling for the ambulance, and too few defibrillators being available.