- Cardiac arrest patients have a survival rate up to 49% when a defibrillator is used within the first 5 to 7 minutes after the attack.
- Heart disease (including heart attacks) was the leading cause of death for both sexes in England and Wales in 2005.
- For every minute that passes without defibrillation chances of survival decrease by 7-10%.
- The survival rate for SCA is less than 5%. This is due to limited AED accessibility.
- If a SCA sufferer does not need an AED shock, the AED will not deliver.
- 30% – 50% of SCA victims would survive if AEDs were used within five minutes.
An Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is a life saving device, which restores a normal heartbeat to a victim after sudden cardiac arrest (SDA). The electrical pulse it emits re-establishes a regular heartbeat, allowing the heart to return to pumping blood around the body.
Modern AEDs are designed so that almost no training is required to use them. Placing the two pads, which should be either side of the heart arteries, is the only action required of a rescuer (other than pressing the shock button on semi-automatic defibrillators). They are compact, sturdy and portable, making them ideal for emergency situations.
There are many types of AEDs but they all work for one sole reason: to re-establish a normal heart rhythm. When the electric shock occurs, it depolarizes a critical mass of the heart muscle, terminates the arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and allows normal sinus rhythm to be restored by the body's natural pacemaker, which is in the sinoatrial node of the heart.
Here’s a breakdown of how the AED can save a life:
- Once a patient is confirmed to be in a cardiac arrest, paddles are placed on the bare chest of the patient – one to the top left of the chest and one to the bottom right.
- The paddles are covered with sensors called electrodes and connected to a circuit with a high voltage source (usually 200-1000 volts).
- The electrodes send information about the person's heart rhythm to a computer in the AED, which analyses the rhythm to find out if and when an electric shock is needed.
- An electrical current is delivered by the electrodes through the heart muscle.
- This electrical current aims to shock the heart out of fibrillation (hence defibrillator) and get it working normally again.
People are growing more and more aware of the effects of SCA and the importance of knowledgeable First Aid treatment. Speedy response is paramount to the survival of a cardiac arrest sufferer. SDA can happen to anyone – any size, age, gender, height, weight, fitness or whereabouts – that means the more places stocked with AEDs, the more lives can be saved.
At Direct365, we provide a range of semi and fully automatic defibrillators suitable for various businesses and environments. As First Aid specialists, we can provide you with information, guidance and product maintenance (like extra pads and batteries). Remember: by investing in an AED, you’re investing in somebody’s life.