Friday, September 30, 2011


Not known to many of our members is the availability of an automated external defibrillator, or AED, at our front desk. For those unfamiliar, an AED is “a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias” (thanks Wikipedia!). Here's a little more about this little lifesaver.

The Basics:

A heart attack is a plumbing problem with the one or more arteries delivering blood to the heart blocked. A cardiac arrest is an electrical problem when the heart’s ventricles develop an irregular rhythm and quiver instead of contract. Both can be fatal. Both can be potentially avoided with the use of an AED.

-Easy to operate, responders follow the voice prompts them through the process. Once the pads are placed, the AED will detect weather or not a shock is necessary. If so, a voice prompts shock need and the responder presses the shock button. If only CPR is necessary, the AED will notify and instruct.

-AED's provide assistance during Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), a leading cause of death in the U.S., killing nearly 300,000 people each year. That’s more than the total death rate for breast cancer, lung cancer, and HIV/AIDS combined. SCA can strike persons of any age, gender, race, and even those who seem in good health, as evidenced by world-class professional athletes at the peak of fitness. Google Michael Jackson.

-Once seen only in hospitals and ambulances, defibrillators today come as small as laptops, cost as little as $1,300 and can be operated easily by untrained bystanders. Some states now require AEDs in schools; some require them in health clubs, shopping malls and golf courses. Despite their foolproof nature, some businesses oppose them out of fear of being sued if something goes awry with an on-site AED. Fortunately, all 50 states now have AED Good Samaritan provisions that help protect laypersons from liability.

-San Diego City Council member Jim Madaffer said "I predict that 10 years from now, people will say, ‘I’m not going to work in a building or stay in a hotel or eat in a restaurant that doesn’t have an AED." Madaffer helped place nearly 5,000 AEDs in public facilities since 2001. They’ve saved 49 lives. Schools have been a tough sell, largely because of cost. Some parents are raising money for AEDs themselves, often after a tragedy. In Rhode Island, the Michael J. Monteleone Fund was established after the sudden death from cardiac arrest of 14-year-old Michael during a baseball practice.

So here's some take home info from the American Heart Association: 

If someone collapses near you, follow these steps:
•Call 911.
•Push hard and fast on the center of the chest (mouth-to-mouth is no longer recommended).
•Send someone to get an AED (if you are alone, get the AED before doing chest compressions).
*Our unit is a Zoll AED+PLUS, and sits next to the phone. If you're interested in reviewing it's use, just let us know. Hopefully we can now breath a little easier.