AEDs Save Lives.
We need more Public Access to AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS (AEDs) FACTS
Author: Heart and Stroke Canada related document.
· Cardiac refers to the heart. Arrest means stop. Sudden cardiac arrest is the sudden and unexpected loss of heart function.
· Signs of cardiac arrest include: no breathing or only gasping, no movement, and no pulse.
· Up to 40,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in Canada. That’s one cardiac arrest every 12 minutes. Without rapid and appropriate treatment, most of these cardiac arrests will result in death. Thousands of lives could be saved through public access to automated external defibrillators.
· An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a small, portable device used to identify cardiac rhythms and deliver a shock to correct abnormal electrical activity in the heart. As a result of the sophisticated electronics in an AED the operator will only be advised to deliver a shock if the heart is in a rhythm which can be corrected by defibrillation. If a shockable rhythm is not detected, no shock can be given and the provider will be instructed to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until emergency medical services arrive.
· When an AED and CPR are immediately available, the chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest is substantially improved.1 Combined with CPR, the use of an AED may increase the likelihood of survival by 75% or more.2
· AEDs have been used efficiently and effectively in community settings, such as casinos, airport terminals, airplanes, shopping malls, recreation facilities, office buildings and other public locations.2-5
· For every 1 minute delay in defibrillation, the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim decreases by 7 to 10%. After more than 12 minutes of ventricular fibrillation, the survival rate is less than 5%.6
· AEDs combined with CPR and activating emergency medical services offer the best chance of saving a life in the event of a cardiac arrest.1
However, AEDs are safe and easy to use by almost anyone. In fact, there are studies showing that laypersons can use AEDs safely and effectively. There are also examples of cases where individuals with no training have successfully used an AED in an emergency situation as they are very straightforward to use and self-guiding.
Any location that has 1000 adults over the age of 35 present per day during the normal business hours (7.5 hours/day, 5 days per week, 250 days per year) can expect one incident of sudden cardiac arrest every 5 years.