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Importance of having a Defibrillator

Many people may or may not have heard of something called an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). A defibrillator is a device that delivers electrical energy to a heart with an irregular beat and
reestablishes the body’s natural pacemaker. This sudden life-threatening condition of the heart is called cardiac arrest, and if it is left untreated, it can be deadly within minutes.

Defibrillators were discovered in 1899 by two psychologists in Switzerland. For the next 50 years it was only tested on animals and it wasn’t until 1947 that it was used on a human being. Since then with technology advancements, these devices are used mainly in hospitals by doctors and highly trained professionals. However, in recent years, the deployment of defibrillators is becoming more common and widespread. It is shocking to know that 10-15% of first-response vehicles in fire departments and less than 1% of police vehicle carry defibrillators. It would make sense for these public services that should aid people in a time of need to carry these devices that could be the difference between life and death.heart arrest

The chance of survival of someone going into cardiac arrest are very slim. Every minute that goes by without a defibrillator, the person’s chances of surviving decrease by 10%. In the UK and Wales, it takes an ambulance an average of about 8 minutes to arrive at the scene for category A calls. If the call is due to cardiac arrest, by the time they arrive, that person has a 20% chance of survival! It is fair to say that the only effective way to give these people a fighting chance at life is prompt defibrillation at the scene. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, defibrillation is only effective when it is administered within the first three minutes of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. As maintained by the Journal, they administered a test in Melbourne, Australia with the use of a Laerdal HeartStart defibrillator, thus returning convincing results. Out of the 28 victims which suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest, 86% of them left the location alive and well, a comparison to 3% if there was not a defibrillator on site.

According to the Express, 270 children die after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest in the UK per year. The numbers stand on their own to prove that a presence of defibrillators is a plausible option which can save many lives. Train stations, stadiums, restaurants and hotels are just a few places that defibrillators have started to appear. The great thing about these devices is that they can be used by someone with little training given that every unit has a few simple steps to follow in case of an emergency. As of now, there is no reports of AED’s harming bystanders or AEDs delivering inappropriate shocks. It’s clear that in a high stress situation even trained professionals may not do everything perfectly, as using an AED can only help the patient.

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