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Monday, January 12, 2004


Tom Munnecke

Liz, I am working on a similar neighborhood CERT idea in Northern San Diego County... we are looking into the idea of a community Automated Electronic Defibrillator (AED) since we are 13 minutes away from our city emergency services...

Community-Based Defibrillators
From the National Institute of Health: Defibrillator Use Increases Heart Attack Survival :” :
The number of survivors of sudden cardiac arrest markedly increased when the victims were helped by community volunteers trained to perform not only CPR but also to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), a device which shocks an ineffectively beating heart back into normal rhythm.
“Sudden cardiac arrest is a top killer of Americans. This important study shows that lives can be saved by training community volunteers to use external defibrillators”, said National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute acting director Barbara Alving.
There are about 400,000 deaths per year from “out-of-hospital” cardiac arrests each year in the United States, about half of which occur suddenly. In cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating effectively, blood does not circulate, and no pulse can be felt. The victim collapses suddenly into unconsciousness. Heart attacks, which are caused by a blockage of the coronary artery, can lead to an abrupt disorganization of the heart’s rhythm called ventricular fibrillation, which can be triggered by a heart attack or can just represent a catastrophic rhythm disturbance. Unless cardiac arrest is treated within minutes (by defibrillation or CPR followed by defibrillation) the victim will die.
It is known that defibrillation by trained public safety and emergency personnel is a highly effective life-saving treatment for cardiac arrest. However, it has not been known previously whether placing automated external defibrillators in the community and training lay persons to use them would prevent additional deaths.
See also: “Public Defibrillators Saving Lives”

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