Friday, 16 September 2011

Heart Attack Cricketer Saved by AED Highlights Value of Defibrillator for Sports Clubs

The recent story about a village cricketer who suffered a massive heart attack while playing in a game highlights the importance of having a defibrillator in your sports club.
In a massive stroke of luck the heart attack victim was playing for a team of doctors. The luck was no so much in the fact that most of his team mates were actually doctors but in the fact that one of them happened to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) in his car at the time.
By having a defibrillator on the scene the patient was able to receive immediate life-saving defibrillation. In the case of sudden cardiac arrest quick treatment is vital with the chances of survival decreasing by 10% for every minute that passes without treatment. After 10 minutes the chances of survival would be almost nil.
Modern defibrillators are very easy to use so even without a team of doctors on hand to help anyone, even without training, can still use a defibrillator to save a life.
The Lifeline AED has been proven in an independent usability study to be the simplest defibrillator use successfully by minimally trained bystanders.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Defibrillators in Schools – Saving Young Lives

It may have escaped your notice but defibrillators are becoming common place in most public places such as railways stations, shopping centres and sports grounds across the UK. Surprisingly however, there does not appear to be the same impetus to have these vital pieces of lifesaving equipment readily available in our schools – something that the charity SADS is trying to change.

Perhaps there is a misconception that a defibrillator is only needed for the treatment of a heart attack – a problem mainly associated with middle-aged men leading a stressful or sedentary lifestyle. Defibrillation is actually the only treatment for a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a condition that can be brought on by a heart attack which is why the two are often confused.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

SCA is an abrupt loss of pulse and consciousness caused by an unexpected failure in the heart's ability to effectively pump blood to the brain and around the body. It is usually caused by life-threatening arrhythmias, abnormalities in the heart's electrical system.

The sudden cardiac arrest victim first loses his or her pulse, then consciousness, and finally the ability to breathe. All of this happens quickly - within a few seconds.

Without immediate treatment, 90-95 percent of SCA victims will die. The only definitive treatment for SCA is defibrillation - an electric current that "shocks" the heart so that a normal rhythm may resume.
Around 140,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest each year in the UK. It is the world’s biggest killer and can happen to anyone at anytime.

Causes of SCA

SCA can happen to anyone but someone is at higher risk if:

• They have previously suffered a heart attack or heart disease
• Have a family history of heart problems
• Have unknown heart problems
• Are a victim of asphyxiation (drowning, choking etc)
• Are a victim of electrocution
• Have an impact or trauma to the chest

Chances of Surviving SCA

Survival rates of a SCA victim drop by over 10% for every minute without defibrillation. After 10 minutes, the chances of survival are extremely small. With an AED on site, if defibrillation can take place within 3 minutes, the average chances of survival are 70%, giving the victim a far greater chance of survival than if treatment is delayed for the average eight minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Schools

Despite the fact that as many as 270 children die after suffering sudden cardiac arrest in British schools each year, there is no requirement for defibrillators to be kept on their premises.

The charity SADS estimates that as few as 80 of the 30,000 schools around the country are known to have access to an automated external defibrillator.

In response to this fact SADS is calling for a law to be passed making them mandatory in all schools, and so far more than 60 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion on the topic.

SADS founder Anne Jolly said trials of the defibrillators in schools around the UK had proven to be a success.

“We’re trying to stop young people’s deaths. We know, if a cardiac arrest happens, the faster a defibrillator is used on a person the better the chances are of them surviving,” she said.

“Having the equipment nearby gives patients the best chance. People can be carrying out the treatment before the ambulance arrives. Every second counts when it comes to cardiac arrest.

“We have been putting defibrillators in some schools already. We really felt compelled to do something and it’s even more compelling to get people to understand how helpful they are. These machines do save lives.

“The equipment has already had to be used in the schools we have put them in. There was a 16-year-old girl saved by a defibrillator and a 36-year-old teacher.

“It’s making a huge difference to people’s lives. The more that are put into schools, the more lives will be saved over the years.”

Dr Jan Till, a consultant paediatric electrophysiology cardiologist at the Royal Brompton hospital, added: “A sudden cardiac arrest in a child is devastating and extremely difficult for all concerned. An AED gives that child a lifeline, and parents and teachers know that they have done everything possible to increase the chance of that child surviving.”

Young Lives Saved by a Defibrillator

A sixth form pupil was so distraught about being given her first detention that it triggered an undiagnosed heart condition.

Teachers dialled 999 and an emergency first aider arrived at Westcliff High School for Girls in Essex within three minutes. He was able to restart her heart in the playground with a defibrillator before an ambulance arrived. In this story the girls was extremely lucky as even though there was no defibrillator on site emergency responders were able to get to the scene very quickly, something that is not always possible.

Read full story

A 15 year old schoolboy collapsed and stopped breathing during a work-out on a treadmill at his local leisure centre.

One of the leisure centre’s fitness instructors gave him the kiss of life and massaged his chest before his colleague used a defibrillator to restart his heart.

This was the result of an undiagnosed genetic heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - the same condition that claimed the life of Manchester City footballer Mark Vivien-Foe during a match in 2003.

Read full story

It is not just undiagnosed heart conditions that can cause sudden cardiac arrest. In Australia a fit and healthy junior aussie rules footballer suffered a heart attack after being knocked unconscious during a match.
An impact or trauma to the chest can also cause SCA.

Read full story

Martek Medical’s School Defibrillator Package

Martek Medical is the official UK distributor of Defibtech’s range of defibrillators – combining innovation with simplicity of use so that anyone, even untrained users, can provide lifesaving defibrillation in an emergency situation.

Martek Medical has created a package especially designed for schools. The package consists of a Lifeline AED and a training course for either up to 6 or up to 12 people.

Defibrillators in Schools - Find out more about our School Defibrillator Package. 

Monday, 22 August 2011

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is an abrupt loss of pulse and consciousness caused by an unexpected failure in the heart's ability to effectively pump blood to the brain and around the body. It is usually caused by life-threatening arrhythmias, abnormalities in the heart's electrical system.

The sudden cardiac arrest victim first loses his or her pulse, then consciousness, and finally the ability to breathe. All of this happens quickly - within a few seconds.

Without immediate treatment, 90-95 percent of SCA victims will die. The only definitive treatment for SCA is defibrillation - an electric current that "shocks" the heart so that a normal rhythm may resume.

What's the Difference Between SCA and a Heart Attack?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is often confused with a heart attack. A prior heart attack increases one's risk for SCA, but SCA is quite different from a heart attack.

Both disorders stem from problems with the heart but each with distinct risk factors, treatment options, and outcomes.

Heart Attack

• A heart attack is caused by a circulation or plumbing problem of the heart, when one (or more) of the arteries delivering blood to the heart is blocked. Oxygen in the blood cannot reach the heart muscle, and the heart muscle becomes damaged.
• Often a victim on a Heart Attack will remain conscious and will experience warning pains and symptoms.
• A heart attack can be treated with clot busting drugs and/or surgery.
• Some people will suffer a mild heart attack and never know.
• This damage to the heart muscle can lead to disturbances of the heart's electrical system. And a malfunction of the heart's electrical system may cause dangerously fast heart rhythms that can lead to SCA.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

• In contrast to a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is usually caused by an electrical problem in the heart.
• SCA occurs when the heart's lower chambers (ventricles) suddenly develop a rapid, irregular rhythm (ventricular fibrillation) causing the ventricles to quiver rather than contract.
• The chaotic quivering motion of the ventricles renders the heart an ineffective pump that can no longer supply the body and brain with oxygen.
• A SCA victim will always die unless the heart is defibrillated quickly.

What Are The Causes of SCA?

Around 140,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest each year in the UK. It is the world’s biggest killer and can happen to anyone at anytime.

SCA can happen to anyone but someone is at higher risk if:

• They have previously suffered a heart attack or heart disease
• Have a family history of heart problems
• Have unknown heart problems
• Are a victim of asphyxiation (drowning, choking etc)
• Are a victim of electrocution
• Have an impact or trauma to the chest

How Do You Treat SCA?

Survival rates of a SCA victim drop by over 10% for every minute without defibrillation. After 10 minutes, the chances of survival are extremely small. With a defibrillator on site, if defibrillation can take place within 3 minutes, the average chances of survival are 70% compared to 5% if a treatment is delayed until the emergency services arrive.

On the adult chain of survival sudden cardiac arrest is identified as an early priority.

Effective CPR will delay cell death but at no point will it get the heart beating regularly again, the ONLY effective treatment is defibrillation.

Martek Medical's Range of Defibrillators

Martek Medical provide a range of defibrillators to best meet your needs. The Lifeline AED is a semi-automatic defibrillator that has been proven by an independent study to be the simplest defibrillator to use on the market.

The Lifeline AUTO is a fully automatic defibrillator that will automatically shock the patient if defibrillation is required. The Lifeline VIEW is the first and only defibrillator to incorporate a full colour instructional video screen in the unit.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Most Common Objections to Defibrillators

Speaking to a number of customers we have noticed that the same concerns about buying a defibrillator keep coming up time and time again. That is why we have produced this guide to address the most common concerns that you have.

1. I can’t justify the cost in the current economic climate 
Defibrillators like the Lifeline AED can
increase chances of survival by up to 70%.

Unfortunately Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) doesn’t recognise any form of budgeting. Sadly we get many calls from companies that have been previously unable to justify the cost and have subsequently had an incident a short time later.

We know it might not seem essential, but if the worst happens you would want to know you had done everything possible.

The cost of the AED over 5 years works out as little as £200 per year. In addition we can offer a payment plan when purchasing the Lifeline AED, which may help to spread the cost of owning a defibrillator:
  • Hire Purchase – This is a structured payment plan, whereby the cost of the AED is spread over a period of time until the cost of the AED is covered. After the cost is covered the AED is yours to keep. An initial deposit can be made which would reduce the amount of monthly payments. This is subject to status and plans may vary.
2. I am worried about the legal implications, can I be held liable?
There is always concern for any person attempting to resuscitate someone that a claim may be brought against them if the casualty suffers harm due to their rescue attempt. It is very difficult to give a definitive answer to legal issues surrounding AEDs due to the absence of any legal precedent, as there has never been a case won against an AED user. The fact is that AEDs make the decision to shock or not to shock and in no circumstances can the user administer a shock if it is not required.

There have been no documented cases of an AED providing the wrong treatment. There has however, been successful cases in the USA against companies who have failed to provide an AED. See just one example below:

For the Resuscitation Council’s guidance on this subject please view the following link:

3. My first aiders are scared of using the AED
The Lifeline VIEW is the first and only defibrillator
to have an inbuilt instructional colour video screen
to guide the user through a rescue..

In a rescue attempt there is occasionally a concern by the user, that they may do more harm than good by using an AED. By becoming a first aider your team have made a conscious decision to help people when they need it and without an AED someone in Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can’t be revived, the only known treatment for SCA is defibrillation. It is not possible to shock someone who isn’t in cardiac arrest as the AEDs are fool proof and make all the decisions for the user.

Once a first aider has had the chance to see a demonstration of an AED and realises that the unit does all the work and they can’t make a mistake, almost all first aiders are more than comfortable to use the AED. In addition, we can offer a comprehensive training course that always leaves people ready to act in an emergency.
4. Can we just do CPR until the emergency services arrive?
CPR is an essential part of the treatment but it only buys extra time before an AED arrives, as highlighted by the adult chain of survival.

For every minute that goes by without defibrillation the chance of survival drops by over 10%. If someone suffers a SCA outside of hospital, the reported survival rate is only 5% if treatment is delayed until the emergency services arrive. This can be increased up to 70% if early defibrillation takes place within the first vital 3 minutes. Without treatment from an AED the patient will not survive, therefore the rescuer can be confident that no further damage can be caused by using an AED.

The simplicity of the unit has been demonstrated in an independent usability study. The Lifeline AED was proven to be the simplest to use AED on the market, making it the ideal AED for company first aiders and first responders. It talks the user through a rescue situation in a calm manner and with only 2 brightly lit oversized buttons; the user can’t misuse the AED.

The Lifeline AED was tested against four market leading AEDs in an independent study at the University of Illinois medical centre and came out as the top AED for ease of use. 125 people used each AED to test the general ease of use, including pad placement and time taken to achieve a safe and effective shock.
5. I don’t have staff qualified to use an AED
At this current time there is no legal requirement for training in the use of AEDs in the UK. The Lifeline AED is designed to be unintimidating and, as highlighted above, has proven to be the world’s simplest AED to use.

The Lifeline AUTO is fully automatic making it easy to use
even for an untrained user.
The AED talks the user through every step of the process, has diagrams on the pads to show where they need to be placed and automatically analyses if the patient needs a shock or not. The user simply needs to take the AED to the patient, apply the pads and wait for it to analyse. If the AED decides a shock is required then it will direct the user to press the flashing shock button.

As highlighted by the chain of survival above, CPR is an essential part of the rescue and all first aiders are qualified to administer this.

We do however, recommend training is undertaken as this can help staff and management feel more confident about the use of AEDs. There are 3 options available that can be used as standalone options or can be combined to ensure you have peace of mind:

Comprehensive training course - This covers all aspects of AED rescue and teaches basic CPR, along with all the information a first responder will need to know for an emergency cardiac situation. Details can be found on our website:

Standalone training unit - This is a complete ready to use training unit designed specifically for training simulations. The pack includes the training AED, training battery, training pads, remote control and battery charger. This can’t be used for treatment at any time.

Training upgrade package - this package allows the Lifeline® AED to be temporarily converted to a training unit, allowing you to simulate a rescue scenario and provide refresher training at your convenience.
6. We are only 5 minutes away from the hospital/ambulance station
It may feel like a safe assumption to make that if you are located near a hospital, the speed of response will be quick. However, ambulances are not always available, as they may be out or away from the hospital or station dealing with another emergency situation. This means that the delay in response for the paramedics to get to the incident will be the same speed as any other location. The current survival rate in the UK is 5% if treatment is delayed until the arrival of the emergency services.

To give a victim of SCA the best chance of survival, early defibrillation within the first three minutes is vital and studies have shown it can increase the chances of survival from 5% up to 70%.

The UK Resuscitation Council receives a number of enquiries from companies about the obligation to provide a defibrillator. To answer these questions they published a document called ‘Responsibility to Provide a Defibrillator’. In this document they state that “current resuscitation guidelines advise that evidence supports the establishment of public access defibrillation programmes (with the installation of an AED) when:
  • The time from call out of the conventional ambulance service to delivery of a shock cannot reliably be achieved within 5 minutes (For practical purposes, this means almost the entire UK).
  • The time from collapse of a victim until the on-site AED can be brought is less than 5 minutes.
You can view this document in full by clicking on the link below:

For every minute that goes by after a cardiac arrest, the victims chances of survival go down by over 10% per minute. If the victim is treated within the first 3 minutes of the incident then the chances of survival are around 70%. After 10 minutes the chances of survival are minimal.
7. We have never had a cardiac arrest on site before
This is a common opinion when considering an AED program, but take the time to consider how many fires your company has had? How much time and money has been spent on fire safety in your building?

It is worth considering that SCA is the UK’s biggest killer with over 140,000 people dying each year. The risk is not just open to our older generation or anyone with a known heart condition. It can strike anyone, at anytime, including very healthy young people with no previous health problems. So the risk of a member of staff suffering a SCA is far higher than the risk of death due to a fire.

There are many examples of these incidents occurring in young, fit and healthy sportsmen in recent years, with no previous health issues. Please see the links below for some high profile examples:

Incidents such as these show us that SCA really can affect anyone. The risk is increased by the following:
  • Heart disease
  • Existing heart condition
  • Previously unknown heart conditions
  • Family history of heart problems
  • Impact or trauma to the chest
  • Electrocution
  • Asphyxiation
Consider how many of the above factors are a risk factor in your company to determine the chances of a SCA.
8. We can’t afford to cover the entire site
If you find that after risk assessment it is decided that too many AEDs are required to cover the site effectively, and therefore the cost is too high, there are a number of options available:
  • First of all Martek have sales executives who can provide a free no obligation visit to your facility to demonstrate the AED, talk through concerns and look around the site to decide how to effectively position AEDs. It may be the case that less are required than at first thought. The heavily populated areas of the sites would preferably need to be covered and as long as the AEDs are positioned where they can be deployed within three to five minutes then they will still be effective.
  • Another option is for Martek Medical to provide a site evaluation report. This would involve a short questionnaire over the phone, where we will take your answers and draw up a risk evaluation report for you. This will aid your company in deciding on the risks of SCA and the site coverage required.
  • If after this consultation it is decided that you can’t afford to cover the whole site with AEDs, there are finance options available. These are rental and hire purchase options which are detailed on the first page of this document.
If you have a question or a concern about buying or using a defibrillator that is not covered in the list above then please feel free to email your question to us and we'll be happy to answer it for you.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

A very happy Father’s Day: Son saves dad’s life with portable defibrillator

Wayne Millen worried for years that he'd die of a sudden heart attack.

Jesse Millen-Johnson with his
parents and the Lifeline AED.

Picture courtesy of Sun Journal
Jesse Millen-Johnson, right, holds the defibrillator he used to save the life of his father, Wayne Millen, center, who went into sudden cardiac arrest at his home. Millen's wife, Karen Johnson, right, a registered nurse, assisted in the life-saving effort.

Genetically, his odds weren't good. His father died of a heart attack at age 66. His mother underwent heart bypass surgery when she was 66. His younger brother, after surviving two heart attacks in two years, died at age 53 of sudden cardiac arrest.

"My brother, Gary, and I were very athletic growing up and we never thought we'd have any problems," said Millen, 60. "I realized, 'There but for the grace of God ... ' you know? That could happen to me."

So Millen regularly went to the doctor. He submitted to all recommended medical tests and took medication that lowered his cholesterol to ideal levels. He worked to stay fit. And last year he bought an automated external defibrillator.

An AED is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses a sudden, life-threatening heart problem and shocks the heart back into rhythm. Although they're increasingly common in businesses, schools and public areas, few people have them in their homes.

When Millen bought his, he thought he might be wasting his money — but he looked at the AED as a little extra insurance.

Last Sunday, that insurance paid off.

Millen's 27-year-old son, who had just arrived for a weeklong family visit, used the AED to save his father's life.

"It's extraordinary," said Alan Langburd, the cardiologist who treated Millen when he arrived at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. "And it's (almost) Father's Day."

Family history

Millen grew concerned about his future when his younger brother died in 2006. Gary Millen had just returned from jogging and was in his bedroom, preparing to take a shower, when he collapsed. His wife heard him fall, but by the time she reached him, it was too late.

Wayne Millen was a couple of years older than his brother. A fatal heart attack could come at any time and, if his brother's death was any indication, it could come all of a sudden.

He did everything he could to keep his heart healthy, including seeing his doctor every six months and taking medication to lower his cholesterol. Regular tests showed he was healthy, though he did have markers for the kind of plaque that builds in the arteries of the heart. His arteries weren't blocked, though, and if the plaque was stable he would probably be fine. If it wasn't stable, if a little piece broke off and caused a clot, he could go into cardiac arrest.

There was no way to tell.

And Millen never was a fan of uncertainty.

A few years after his brother's death, an article in a local newspaper gave him an idea. The story talked about a public safety group that was providing AEDs to tri-county businesses, schools and public gathering spots. The more Millen learned about AEDs, the more he thought it would be a good idea for him to have one.

Millen's research told him that most people who have heart attacks don't go into sudden cardiac arrest and don't need defibrillators to shock their hearts back into rhythm, but his brother's death said it was a possibility. His research showed that most heart attacks happen while the victim is at home and that quick medical attention can mean the difference between life and death, but his house was in a deeply rural section of West Paris and there was no way an ambulance could get there quickly.

His conclusion: He needed an AED in his home.

Sudden cardiac arrest

Lifeline AED - Semi-automatic Defibrillator
Last Sunday, Millen played a few quick games of basketball with his son, Jesse Millen-Johnson, who had just arrived from Utah for a weeklong vacation, and his son's old college friends. They played for about a half-hour.

A forester for the U.S. Forest Service, Millen had said the week before how good he felt, how he was bounding up the steps at the forestry office. But after the basketball game, he felt tired and a little winded. That was easily explained: He hadn't played basketball in years and he was playing now with guys half his age.

"Boy, I don't have the energy that I used to have," he told his wife when he went inside. "I probably shouldn't be doing that."

Millen grabbed a couple of aspirin. His neck and shoulders hurt, but he'd gotten hit in the neck during the game and he was pretty sure the pain was from that, not a heart attack. Still, the aspirin couldn't hurt. More insurance, he thought.

He went upstairs to take a shower. A few minutes later, Johnson heard a thump.

"Wayne, are you OK?" she called from the other room.

The only answer was the sound of labored breathing. She started running.

"I knew immediately," she said.

Millen's collapse almost exactly mirrored his younger brother's.

A nurse at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Johnson knew what to do in an emergency, but everything seemed to go wrong. She had trouble laying him flat for CPR because he was too heavy for her to move. She couldn't get the phone to work — the family believes Millen accidentally pulled the cord out of the wall when he fell — which meant no dialing 911.

She went to the window and yelled to her son and his friends, "Emergency!"

In the seconds it took Millen-Johnson to race upstairs, his father stopped breathing. He had no pulse.

"I was like, 'Is this the way it's going to end?” Millen-Johnson said. "We knew this was a possibility, but at the same time you never, ever think it would ever happen to someone you care about."

Millen-Johnson couldn't get reception on the cell phone he'd brought from Utah, so one of his friends called 911 on his phone. Johnson started chest compressions. She told her son to get the AED.

With shaking hands, he tore open the bag and placed the pads according to the directions. Although Millen and his wife had just gone over the AED instructions the week before — they'd happened to dust the device as they dusted the rest of the house preparing for company and Johnson took the opportunity to learn more about it — their son hadn't encountered one since a wilderness leadership course in high school. But the directions were simple and the device spoke commands.

The AED told everyone to clear. The shock to Millen's heart sent his body 6 inches off the ground, but it worked. He started breathing a little. The machine advised CPR while it analyzed Millen's heart. Millen-Johnson took over the chest compressions. His mother had done them for a few minutes, but 61 years old and dealing with arthritis, she couldn't keep it up.

A couple of minutes later, Millen stopped breathing again. The AED again told everyone to clear.

The second shock, like the first, got him breathing again.

The AED advised them to continue chest compressions. Millen-Johnson did for the next 10 minutes, fearing the heart under his hands could stop a third time and that any second his father could die again.

Millen had been right that no ambulance could get to his rural home quickly. It took paramedics about 15 minutes to reach Millen, long past the point he could have been revived if his family hadn't used the AED.
He was on his way to the hospital, alive.

'Every day now is a gift'

Most people who have heart attacks first notice one of several symptoms, including pain or heaviness in their chests. Millen was one of the five to 10 percent who went straight into cardiac arrest.

"His presenting symptom was sudden death," said Langburd, the cardiologist.

By the time he reached CMMC, Millen's heart was back to a normal rhythm. At the hospital, Langburd put in a stent to open the artery and keep it open.

If Millen's son hadn't used the AED, Langburd said, "(Millen) probably would have died. And if he had survived, he probably would have had pretty significant neurologic impairment. Often, they just don't wake up. Or if they do wake up, they're mentally challenged."

Millen had none of those problems.

Langburd has been practicing medicine for 27 years. He had never encountered someone who was saved with an AED at home.

"Jesse was a hero," Langburd said. "(Millen) was alive and doing well by the time we got him. So he's a hero. Truly a hero. He deserves accolades."

Millen remembers nothing after going to his bedroom to get ready to take a shower. He woke up in the ICU. Doctors and nurses told him it was a miracle he was alive.

Medicated and disoriented, Millen was little confused at first, but at least one thing got through: When his family told him they'd used the AED, he smiled.

"So," he said, "it worked."

Millen spent a few days in the hospital. On Friday he was still sore from his son's chest compressions, but he was able to move around the house. His wife and son stayed nearby. The trauma was still fresh.

"It's pretty overwhelming," Millen said. "I see them sometimes looking at me when I'm probably thinking the same thing: They came that close to going through a funeral this week."

"It'll be a very happy Father's Day," Millen said.

Source:  Sun Journal

Monday, 4 April 2011

How Effective are Defibrillators?

The Defibtech Lifeline Automated External Defibrillator
 If you have been considering buying a defibrillator there are no doubt a number of questions that have entered your mind, many of which you can find the answers to in our Top 10 Objections to Defibrillators section. Of all these questions, the most important one for you to consider is how effective are defibrillators?

The best way to answer this question is to look at the findings of a recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that considered the effectiveness of AEDs. The study published in April 2010 assessed the effectiveness of AED use before the arrival of emergency services in a public access defibrillation trial between December 2005 and May 2007 in the USA. 

The trial looked at 13,769 out of hospital cardiac arrests. Out of this number, 4,403 (32%) received CPR from a bystander but no AED was applied before the emergency services arrived, 289 (2.1%) had an AED applied before emergency services arrived, and 9,077 (65.9%) had no bystander CPR or AED applied.

Of the 4,403 who received CPR but no AED, 9% of these people survived. This compares to 24% of the 289 who had an AED applied before the emergency services arrived. Out of these 289, 170 had an AED shock delivered with 38% of them surviving.

Many people wonder whether the average layperson with no medical training really can use a defibrillator to save a life. The breakdown of the people applying the AED and the survival rates shown in the study was as follows – 32% healthcare workers (16% survived); 35% lay volunteers (40% survived); 26% police (13% survived); 7% unknown.

The main finding we can take from this study is that there was a marked increase in the percentage of survivors of those receiving a shock from a defibrillator compared to those who were only treated with CPR. Also a bigger percentage of those treated by lay volunteers survived than those treated by healthcare workers, showing that anyone can successfully use a defibrillator.

Find out more about the Lifeline Automated External Defibrillator (AED)