What others say: AED, an easy but unknown way to save a life

From: Deseret news

Sudden cardiac arrest – when, without warning, the heart instantly stops beating – kills 350,000 Americans of various ages and occupations a year, according to the American Heart Association.

Yet now, with high school sports teams in intensive training for their fall seasons, now is when we are most aware of these fatalities because of a tragic drama: A young athlete in peak condition, who has never flunked a physical or shown the faintest symptom of cardiac problems, suddenly collapses.

Death is usually all but instantaneous – but it is not necessarily inevitable, not if a device called an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, and someone willing to use it are close at hand.

Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, which usually is caused by blocked arteries and often gives some advance warning. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the electrical impulses that control the heart suddenly misfire.

The mild electric shock from an AED "resets" the heart and allows it to resume normal function. Bystanders revive several thousand people this way each year. More widespread use of the devices could save at least 20,000 more, according to the American Red Cross.

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