Wednesday, 13 November 2013

About Sudden Cardiac Arrest [infographic]

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the biggest killer in the World today. Here are some interesting facts about SCA in the UK: 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Drones to drop AED’s in remote areas

German manufacturers Height-Tech have developed an app allowing Automatic External Defibrillators to be delivered to victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest in a matter of minutes.

Non-profit organisation Definetz have partnered with Height-Tech to create the technology to fly an unmanned drone to remote or hard to get too areas, delivering life-saving defibrillators. The drone can fly unmanned for up to 6 miles (10 km) at speeds of up to 40 mph (70 kph), avoiding road traffic below.

The first aider at hand can request the drone to be sent using a pre-downloaded app on their smart phone. The app then navigates the drone using GPS coordinates to the precise location ready for administration to the victim.

According to the Red Cross, "Each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced approximately 10%," so a drone that can deliver a quick response could make an astounding difference. The average response time is 8-12 minutes, so a drone that can cut that time can drastically increase survival rates.

Currently laws in Germany, where the product is being developed currently states that all unmanned vehicles must be supervised by someone on the ground, incurring additional costs.

The technology has a long way to go before it is available to the public, but the investment in this project just reinforces just how important AEDs are in saving lives.

Monday, 5 August 2013

5 Things you need to know about AEDs

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), also known as defibrillators, could be the key to saving a loved one’s life who’s fallen victim to a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

Although defibrillators can be used by non-medically trained personnel, simple training of when and how to use an AED can increase the time needed to assess the situation and act.

As a malfunction of the heart’s electrical system, cardiac arrest is sometimes a complication of ventricular fibrillation, and causes more than half of the deaths that result from cardiovascular disease. Survival rates jump up sharply from 5 percent to more than 80 percent when someone steps in and quickly uses an automated external defibrillator (AED) to restart the heart. There is no law in the UK to protect a first aider legally, but there have been no reported cases of anyone being prosecuted as a result of trying to help.

What is an AED?
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a small computerised medical device that analyses a person’s heart rhythm. The AED is programmed to detect the type of heart rhythm which requires intervention. It includes simple instructions and automated voice directions. Used by a trained operator outside of the hospital setting, the AED gives an electrical shock called defibrillation to restore a normal rhythm, if needed. Using an AED within the first few minutes can reverse cardiac arrest and saves lives.
How does an AED work? 
An AED measures the unresponsive person’s heart rhythm. The computerised device then gives  voice instructions to the rescuer, based on the heart rhythm.  The AED safely delivers an electric shock to the victim’s chest that can reset normal heart rhythm at once. “It is essential that quick defibrillation occur in order to save the patient’s life.  With each minute the patient is in ventricular fibrillation the likelihood of survival goes down,” Kevin R. Campbell, MD, FACC, a cardiologist at UNC Health Care/Rex said. The benefits to the patient are tremendous, he added, “AEDs change the survival rate from less than 5 percent to more than 80 percent with quick defibrillation.” With simple training, you can greatly change the person’s odds of survival during cardiac arrest. 
When do I use an AED?
Cardiac arrest can occur anytime and anyplace without warning. During cardiac arrest, the person’s heart beat becomes irregular and erratic — known as ventricular fibrillation — and unless a shock is delivered, the patient will die. “Every minute that a patient remains in the erratic heart rhythm, the likelihood of survival goes down exponentially,” says Dr. Campbell. In his experience, heart attacks often occur in the early morning hours when adrenaline and cortisol levels are at their highest.
The operator of an AED must be able to detect symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest. It is time to get an AED if a person:
·         Becomes unresponsive suddenly
·         Stops breathing
·         Does not take a breath when you tilt the head up
This is the emergency situation where every minute counts, so call 999 and get an AED.
Where can I find an AED?
There are currently no laws in the UK that requires defibrillators in public places, although organisations such as AEDs in Scotland are campaigning for all communities in Scotland to have access to one.
Websites such as advises communities where the nearest public access defibrillator is located. Martek Medical recommend that you know where the nearest AED to you is, and how to access it (some require a code obtained by calling 999).
How can I get trained on using an AED to save hearts and lives?
Martek’s Lifeline AED was designed specifically to be simple and unintimidating enough to allow non-medical users to save lives. Even though it is simple to use, we do recommend that the purchase of one of these lifesaving devices is complimented by a professional training course to not only familiarise yourself fully with the product but to also get some hands on experience of  using the AED under expert guidance. This also gives you the ideal opportunity to ask any questions or ease any concerns you may have so that you have the confidence to use the Lifeline AED to save someone’s life without a moment’s hesitation.

The AED training unit supports the training course to keep your AED training fresh in your mind and your skills up-to-date with regular skills and practice – you never know when you may need it!

Monday, 15 July 2013

World Leading Cardiac Pilot will Save Lives

Paramedics in Scotland are undertaking blood analysis of cardiac patients in a world leading trial in the Borders that will produce vital test data in minutes, speeding up diagnosis and saving lives.

The Scottish Ambulance Service, the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (SCTT), NHS Borders and Samsung are working in partnership to trial the initiative which can identify the appropriate course of treatment before the patient arrives at hospital.

Paramedics will be able to take a blood sample from patients and run a test for troponin in the ambulance whilst en route to hospital. Troponin is a cardiac marker found in the blood following damage to the heart muscle caused by a heart attack.  The test differentiates between a heart attack and angina.

The early availability of this information enables ambulance crews to deliver the most clinically effective care en route and provides vital information to the cardiologist team about to receive the patient.

Professor George Crooks, Medical Director at the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS 24’s Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare, said:

“This is a unique collaboration that has resulted in technology, which was previously only available in the hospital setting, being moved closer to the patient with significant benefit to quality of care and clinical outcomes.

“Whilst currently in the evaluation stage, the initial results are very encouraging and demonstrate that such tests can be successfully undertaken by paramedics in ambulances.  We are looking at how this can be rolled out across Scotland.

“The rapid onset of developments in mobile technology opens up incredible opportunities for the NHS in Scotland to find innovative ways of delivering care that will improve the patient experience and ultimately save more lives”

Health Secretary, Alex Neil, said:

“I want NHS Scotland to be at the forefront of new and innovative technologies such as this.  Allowing clinicians to identify an appropriate course of treatment before the patient even arrives at hospital can be crucial.  This is an excellent example of partnership working that is set to help even more patients and save lives.”

The pilot started in the Borders in November 2012 and has so far included over 100 patients presenting with cardiac chest pain.  Ten emergency ambulances were equipped with the Samsung B10 analysers and 57 paramedics in the region were given special training to use the machines. Paramedics have worked closely with clinicians at NHS Borders and SCTT."

Monday, 20 May 2013

Sports safety top priority

Spring is defiantly here and young athletes are already enjoying warm weather activities out on the field. It’s great that young people want to keep active, but safety is ultimately at the heart of any team competition’s priority. 

Larry Cooper, chair America’s National Athletic Trainers’ Association states “It's vital for coaches, athletic trainers, parents and the athletes themselves to maintain good communication and follow guidelines to ensure all participants are fit for play.”

In line with this, NATA has offered several sports safety tips to keep athletes in the game: 

1. Make sure the athlete is physically and mentally in the game: Parents, with assistance from coaches, should determine whether their children are physically and psychologically conditioned for the sport/activity level they're playing. Do not push children into something they do not want to do. Additionally, if an athlete has been injured and is returning to sport, it's critical for him or her to have the right mind set and confidence to return to play and avoid repeat injury.

2. Get a pre-participation exam: All athletes should have a pre-participation exam to determine their readiness to play and uncover any condition that may limit participation.

3. Follow a team approach to care: In the case of injury, find out who will provide care and ask to review their credentials. Many schools and sports teams rely on athletic trainers or parents with medical and first aid training and certification to keep kids safe. Yet less than half of high schools have access to athletic trainers.

4. Beat the heat: Acclimatize athletes to warm weather activities over a 14-day period. The goal is to increase exercise heat tolerance and enhance the ability to exercise safely and effectively in warm and hot conditions. Should heat illness occur, cool first and transport second: immediate cold water immersion is critical to reducing the athlete's temperature rapidly. Determine core body temperature to best assess the athlete's condition.

5. Use your head: Athletes should be encouraged to speak up if they are suffering any related symptoms (dizziness, loss of memory, fatigue). Concussions must be carefully managed using follow up assessments of symptoms, neurocognitive function and balance, prior to initiating a gradual return to play. Should a more serious brain injury occur, the medical staff should be prepared to transport the athlete to a facility, while ensuring adequate ventilation and elevating the head to decrease intracranial pressure.

6. Maintain Heart health: Recognition is vital to treatment: sudden cardiac arrest should be suspected in any athlete who has collapsed and is unresponsive. Public access to early defibrillation is essential: a goal of less than 3-5 minutes from the time of collapse to delivery of the first shock from an automated external defibrillator (AED) is strongly recommended. Most schools now have AEDS, a vital piece of lifesaving equipment that shocks the heart back into rhythm. Ensure that the medical expert and other personnel know where they are located, how to use them and that they are placed on sidelines during competitions and games. Martek Medical’s Lifeline defibrillators give clear voice instructions whilst connected to the victim, prompting effective CPR which can keep oxygen pumping to the brain, and prevent brain damage or death. 

7. Share an athlete's medical history: Parents should complete an emergency medical authorization form, providing parent contact information and permission for emergency medical care for the student athlete. Check with your school/league to obtain the form.

8. Ensure equipment is in working order: Make sure all equipment ranging from field goals, basketball flooring, gymnastics apparatus and field turf are in safe and working order. This also includes emergency medical equipment such as spine boards, splint devices, AEDs (which should be checked once per month; batteries and pads need consistent monitoring and replacing). All it takes is a slip on a wet surface or twist of an ankle on an ungroomed field to lead to lower extremity injuries, among others.

9. Ascertain coaches' qualifications: A background check should always be performed on coaches and volunteers:

-       Coaches should have background and knowledge in the sport they are coaching. They should be credentialed if that is a requirement in the state, conference or league.

-       Coaches should have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), AED and first aid training.

-       Coaches should strictly enforce the sports rules and have a plan for dealing with emergencies.

-       Ensure appropriate credentials for coaching from the respective sport governing body. 

10. Check that locker rooms, gyms and shower surfaces are clean: With the advent of MRSA and related bacterial, viral and fungal skin infections reported in recent years, it is critical to keep these surfaces routinely cleaned and checked for germs. Athletes must be discouraged from sharing towels, athletic gear, water bottles, disposable razors and hair clippers. All clothing and equipment, including bags, should be laundered and/or disinfected on a daily basis.

11. Be smart about sickle cell trait: All newborns are tested at birth for this particular inherited condition and those results should be shared during a pre-participation exam. Red blood cells can sickle during intense exertion, blocking blood vessels and posing a grave risk for athletes with the sickle cell trait. Screening and simple precautions may prevent deaths and help the athlete with sickle cell trait thrive in his or her chosen sport. Know the signs and symptoms (fatigue or shortness of breath) to differentiate this condition from other causes of collapse.

12. Ensure an emergency action plan is in place: Every team should have a written emergency action plan, reviewed by the athletic trainer or local Emergency Medical Service. Individual assignments and emergency equipment and supplies need to be included in the emergency action plan. If an athletic trainer is not employed by the school or sport league, qualified individuals need to be present to render care. Knowing that a school has prepared for emergency will give parents peace of mind.

13. Adopt a "Time Out" system: Each health care team should take a "Time Out" before athletic events to ensure emergency action plans are reviewed and in place. Determine the role of each person; communication coordination; presence of ambulance; designated hospital; test of all emergency equipment; issues that could impact the plan such as weather or other considerations.

14. Build in recovery time: Allow time for the body to rest and rejuvenate in between practices, games and even seasons. "Recovery time is essential," says Cooper. "Without rest and a change of motion and activity, we put young athletes at risk of repetitive or chronic injury."

15. Breathe easier: Athletes with asthma should be properly educated about their condition, appropriate medications, use of inhaler equipment and how to recognize "good or bad" breathing days to prevent exacerbations. A warm up protocol may decrease the risk of asthma or reliance on medications.

16. Stay smart about steroids: Use of anabolic-androgenic steroids can lead to a host of negative effects on the health and well-being of athletes and non-athletes alike. Be aware of signs and symptoms of misuse including: rapid body mass or increase in performance; extreme muscular growth; abnormal or excessive acne, unexplained hypertension, moodiness, aggression, depression or obsession with exercise and diet. Report this immediately to the athletic trainer or other school medical professionals.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Watch the Lifeline Defibrillator in action, saving a surfer clinically dead for five minutes

When Ryan Kim was found underwater without a pulse and not breathing, he was close to death by drowning. His friend, Dan, rushed to alert the attention of the lifeguards. Soon he was on the back of a Jet Ski and back on dry land, but he still wasn't out of danger yet.

After 4 sets of CPR the team of experienced lifeguards still couldn't stabilise the Korean student; he had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Ryan needed a defibrillator to save his life and he needed it quickly – luckily the Lifeguard tower was equipped with a Defibtech Lifeline AED. Enlisting the help of a passer-by, the defibrillator was rushed to the victim’s aid and thankfully reached the scene within a few minutes, increasing the student’s chances of survival dramatically. The Lifeline AED instructed the lifeguards to place the pads on the victim’s chest so it could analyse his condition. As a pulse wasn't detected the Lifeline AED gave calm voice prompts, instructing the lifeguards to stand clear of the patient and administer a shock to the victim’s heart. The device then went on to check for signs of life once more to determine whether a further shock was required. After the shock was administered, despite being clinically dead for 5 minutes, Ryan now had a pulse. His heart had been returned to a normal rhythm thanks to the Lifeline defibrillator.

Ryan was still at risk due to the amount of water in his lungs, but he was out of fatal danger and in the care of medical professionals. Thankfully he made a full recovery.

Ryan was a healthy 26 year old who was an unlucky victim of SCA. This story is proof that this condition really can strike anyone at any time, and a Lifeline defibrillator could make the difference between life and death.

All of the Lifeline range of defibrillators come with an industry leading 8 year warranty and are simple to use by non-medical personnel, with clear voice prompts instructing the user at each stage of the resuscitation.

Martek Medical currently offers three different types of defibrillator in the Lifeline range:
Lifeline AED – the semi-automatic defibrillator shown in the video;
Lifeline AUTO – a fully automatic version of the Lifeline AED; and
Lifeline VIEW – a semi-automatic defibrillator with a built in video instruction screen.

In addition to this, within March 2013 Martek Medical will be releasing 2 new defibrillators, from the Lifeline VIEW family of defibrillator, designed specifically for medical professionals.

Lifeline ECG — can be used in AED mode or in ECG monitoring mode utilising the full colour screen.
Lifeline PRO — an industry leading professional defibrillator that, like the Lifeline ECG, can be used in AED mode and in ECG monitoring mode but also has the option to use in manual override mode.

Learn more about the Lifeline AED seen being used in this video.