The town I live in has a Philips Heart Start Defibrillator on site at every hockey arena (we have 8 arenas with 17 hockey rinks). Why? Because they can save lives. In the event that a player, spectator, parent or grandparent has a sudden cardiac automatic defibrillator in the building, the use of a defibrillator increases the chance of survival.
Cardiac arrhythmia is a condition where there is abnormal electrical activity in the heart which can cause a cardiac arrest. A defibrillator gives a defined amount of electricity to the heart to bring the heart back to its natural rhythm.
Automated External Defibrillators (known as AEDs) are designed so that a bystander is able to successfully use the unit without having any training. AEDs are simple to use and are computer programmed to assess the person’s heart in order to determine if the individual is actually having a heart attack. The Heart Start uses a clear natural voice to provide instructions to the user and calmly walk them through the process. It uses a combination of high current with a low energy dose to ensure the safety of the most sensitive heart.
Defibrillators are more present in public access buildings such as government offices, fitness clubs, stadiums, airports and train stations, where large groups of people are gathered. The more education our community gives its residents on automatic defibrillators, the more lives will be saved.
Our town currently has them at all recreation centers, the performing arts center and at town hall. In a recent six week span, our region’s Emergency Medical System responded to an unprecedented number of calls where citizens had to use their basic life support skills in the face of a sudden cardiac arrest. During this time period, the EMS teams responded to five uses of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) which resulted in the revival of four patients prior to their arrival at hospital.
Historically, the survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in our area is five per cent or less.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation is working diligently to ensure wide spread access of automatic external defibrillators in homes and at work. The foundation is also encouraging that those individuals who are close to those at high risk of cardiac arrest, educate themselves on AED and be prepared to help a family member or friend.
The Philips Heart Start Defibrillator are also becoming more common in the home as you do not need a prescription to buy one and they are an emergency item like the smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector and the fire extinguisher.