Public access defibrillator’s have saved thousands of lives since they began appearing in schools, defibrillatore automatico, and public areas like malls and stadiums. Studies indicate that individuals experiencing sudden cardiac arrest have a better chance of survival if defibrillation occurs in the first few minutes. Often, first responders, like EMS, take longer than several minutes to respond to an emergency so having public access defibrillator’s on hand give people the chance for quicker response times.
Public access defibrillator’s are also called automated external defibrillator’s. These portable units are lightweight and are designed so that virtually anyone can use them. The devices give audio, and sometimes visual, instructions to the user. In addition, the portable defibrillator automatically monitors the patient’s heart rate once the pads are attached and determines whether defibrillation is needed.
Here are some facts to consider:
Three quarters of deaths for sudden heart emergencies happen before a patient reaches the hospital.
More than 800 people die each day in the United States from coronary heart disease and most of the sudden deaths are caused by cardiac arrest.
All known heart disease can result in cardiac arrest and SCA can happen to anyone at any age. When SCA happens to someone at a young age, a heart abnormality is usually present, although not always diagnosed.
Sudden cardiac arrest is different than a heart attack, which is a blockage of one or more blood vessels.
Brain and permanent death generally happen between four to six minutes after sudden cardiac arrest begins if immediate treatment is not given.
Cardiac arrest is reversible if it is treated with CPR and defibrillation during the first few minutes.
Persons who have experienced cardiac arrest due to ventricular defibrillation or ventricular tachycardia are at increased risk for another cardiac arrest.
Public access defibrillators can prevent death in someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. When defibrillators are placed in public areas, they should be easy to identify and get to. Because of the short time constraints, you need to be able to get to the device as quickly as possible.
In some public areas, staff members or security personnel should be trained to use the defibrillator and to perform CPR. Although most of the public access units can be used by almost anyone, training helps responders stay calm and collected during the emergency.
Many areas are choosing to install public access defibrillator’s in case someone will need to use one. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and easy access to defibrillators can prevent some of them. Look for defibrillator’s in the public areas that you use and ask communities and businesses to purchase one if an area doesn’t have one nearby.