Many individuals have recently become more attuned to the threat posed by sudden cardiac arrest. A dangerous phenomenon that often strikes without any warning signs whatsoever, these types of emergencies happen with alarming frequency when we least expect it. In order to raise public understanding of sudden cardiac arrest and to try and limit the number of resulting deaths, governmental units nationwide have started requiring artificial external defibrillators (AEDs) to be maintained in a wide range of public places.
AEDs are handy, portable tools which can, when properly utilized, greatly impact survival rates in a positive way for those who suffer sudden cardiac arrest. When medical emergencies of this type happen, time really is of the essence, and these devices can buy precious minutes that regularly make the difference between life and death.
Sudden cardiac arrest is often the result of malfunctioning of the heart’s electrical system in which blood flow stops without notice. Without immediate treatment, those who experience this cessation of function typically die. However, it is frequently possible for such individuals to be saved by performance of CPR and the use of a defibrillator to provide an electrical shock to the heart. It is vital that a defibrillator be present and ready to use at a moment’s notice, because it is estimated that for each single minute that treatment does not occur, a patient’s likelihood of surviving the event drops by approximately ten percent.
An AED will be equipped with internal computers which will measure the patient’s heart function by way of skin-attached electrodes. This determines whether or not is is appropriate for the patient to be shocked. If a shock is indicated, the machine will tell the operator to administer the treatment while guiding him or her through the critical steps. Anyone who has been trained on the use of these tools will agree that they are extremely safe and accurate in terms of assessing which patients are good candidates for shock and which are not.
Considering the amazing life-saving ability of these devices, it is not surprising that governments at all levels across the nation have begun mandating the presence of AEDs in a number of venues. Some of the public places where defibrillators may need to be placed include school buildings, government facilities, sports arenas, museums, nursing homes and airports.
Some states have also expanded Good Samaritan laws so that individuals who use these devices in order to provide emergency, life-saving aid to others will not be held liable if death or significant injury still occurs. This is seen by many as an important step in the expansion of availability of these vital tools.
Other organizations have taken the initiative to launch AED training, maintenance and placement programs as a means to improve public health outcomes in their own communities. Statistics have suggested that sudden cardiac deaths have been significantly reduced in areas that have instituted AED awareness plans and raised money for additional availability of the devices in public places.