As you have probably heard, February is heart month, and so the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine thought it would be especially appropriate to spread awareness of a life saving device that is becoming more and more common: The AED.
Scenario: You are in a group in a hall on your way to a business meeting with seven other people.
Chattering about the meeting, you all approach the elevator by the coffee shop on the first floor of the giant office building. Quite suddenly, a colleague collapses and loses consciousness. You start CPR while another colleague calls 911, but what else can you do?
You Can Be The Super Hero With An AED!
According to the FDA, “the next step is to look for the nearest AED and use it on the spot. If your colleague is in cardiac arrest, you just may save his life.”
Guess what? You do not have to be a Superhero to save your friend or a stranger. Any humble bystander can use this new technological wonder: The AED
You recall a sign outside the coffee-shop, An AED Sign! A defibrillator is just what the doctor ordered! In the above scenario, you remember there is an AED station right by the door of the coffee-shop near the elevators. In short, you apply it, and your grateful colleague lives.
The AED is a special type of defibrillator that requires very little training to utilize.
It will deliver an electrical shock and restore the heart’s normal rhythm.
Today, AEDs, which are regulated by the FDA, “can be found in many public places, including offices, schools, shopping malls, grocery stores and airports.
It is important to note these as you frequent public places, because the American Heart Association tells us that sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the U.S. Furthermore, Less than 12% of those victims survive. AED’s just might improve those statistics.
What Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
The sudden cardiac arrest is not the same thing as a heart attack. A heart attack is caused by a “blockage that stops blood flow to the heart.” You have a sudden cardiac arrest when your heart’s electrical system malfunctions. This produces an abnormal heart rhythm, termed “arrhythmia.” Oscar Tovar-Calderon, M.D., a medical officer at FDA, stated, “Signs of cardiac arrest include sudden collapse and immediate loss of consciousness.”
Dr. Tovar-Calderon warns us “Defibrillation is a time-sensitive issue. The probability of survival decreases by 7% to 10% for every minute that a victim stays in arrhythmia.”
How The Device Works:
A bystander using an AED will be given verbal directions, by the machine itself, for its use, which is very simple.
1. You will see two sticky pads with sensors (electrodes) to attach to either side of the chest of the person in cardiac arrest. Do not worry. The AED even uses voice prompts to tell the bystander, (that’s you, super-hero!), how to attach the electrodes and when to press a button to deliver the shock.
2. The electrodes send data on the victim’s heart rhythm to a computer in the AED. It is this computer, not you, “which then analyzes the rhythm to find out whether an electric shock is needed.”
3. In some devices, the voice prompts announce that a shock is going to be delivered and the AED delivers the shock without intervention by the user, so you don’t even have to press the button.
4. Some patients who have been diagnosed with a heart condition and are at risk, have already bought these devices for use at home, by prescription.
If you would like training, you can usually get it in conjunction with CPR training at such major organizations such as the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. You can even look up AED Operation online!
For readers or superheroes who want to learn more about these amazing devices, we hope you will go to this authoritative source.
As far as our scenario goes, it might be sometime before you stop receiving praise from your business group, but you know in your heart you were not a superhero, just a person who knew what to do under stress. Your future business meetings, with the colleague you saved, are very likely to be full of smiles and decidedly low stress.
Once again, we thank you for reading our blog, and we hope you will make your heart healthy month of February into a Heart Healthy Year of 2014.