Practical Prevention: How Defibrillators in Public Places Can Save Lives
Sudden cardiac arrest victims feel fine one minute, then the next minute they are dead. Can automated external defibrillators (AEDs), make it possible to change the outcome? These devices are effective, fairly simple to operate, and now readily available in many public places. The idea is to have them handy for members of the public to use right away on cardiac arrest victims.
Frequency of Sudden Heart DeathIn the United States, sudden heart death is a growing issue that can affect anyone. Researchers blame the trend on an increasing incidence of inactivity, obesity, and other risk factors. Heart disease is a major cause of death in the United States today, with many of these deaths happening suddenly and unexpectedly from cardiac arrest.
How Rapid Defibrillation HelpsDuring cardiac arrest, the heart stops pumping, and there is no effective heartbeat. The most common culprit is an irregular heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation. The irregular rhythm causes the heart to fibrillate, or quiver uncontrollably, and renders the heart unable to pump blood around the body. This can lead to death in minutes. An important factor in surviving cardiac arrest is early defibrillation. Automated external defibrillators have the potential to improve survival rates. They can be readily available outside of a medical setting and they are relatively easy to operate.