Save a life by educating yourself about AEDs

Over the next several posts the Atlanta Red Cross would like to educate you about the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) device. In the time it takes for you to get your coffee in the morning approximately one person has died of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), and with two out of three SCA attacks happening outside of a hospital the need for AEDs are high.

In America one life is lost close to every two minutes and in this year alone about 194,616 Americans have lost their lives due to SCA. On top of that, SCA related deaths reach an average total of 325,000 deaths per year.

On July 8, 2009, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on Art Bastianello, 64, who survived an SCA attack during his workout at Coward Family Ashford Dunwoody YMCA. A staff member revived him with an AED.

You may think that SCA only affects the elderly or unhealthy individuals, but the truth is that SCA is a danger for everyone. A sudden cardiac arrest death occurs in roughly 1 in 200,000 high school athletes a year and happens one-to-two times every week during sporting related events.

When an attack occurs there is very little time to react and save the victim; a victim’s chance of living diminishes 7-10 percent in every passing minute. But CPR and the use of a defibrillator can double or triple the odds of a victim living.

Up to 50,000 deaths could be saved each year if the proper treatment and tools are present during a SCA attack. The process of defibrillation is often seen on medical dramas portrayed on television, but now the average person can be trained to use an AED. Defibrillation is the treatment of sporadic, irregular or absent heart beats and uses an electrical current to restart the heart’s rhythm. It is also currently the only defining way of treating SCA.

The AED is a portable, computerized device that recognizes when a victim needs a shock and administers the shock to the victim if necessary. These devices often use lights, messaging and sometimes even use voice commands to tell a user what steps to take next during the defibrillation process.

Although the devices are easy to use, training is still necessary. The training will ensure the respondent knows the signs of SCA, how to operate an AED, and how to administer CPR if necessary.

SCA kills more people per year than breast cancer, lung cancer and HIV/AIDS do combined, and in the time it takes to read this article more then 194,701 Americans have already succumbed to an SCA attack, but in most cases an AED could have saved their lives.

How do you get an AED? What does it cost? Where can you get training? These are all questions that will be answered in the next Atlanta Red Cross blog, so stay tuned for more information on how to save a life.

One response to “Save a life by educating yourself about AEDs

  1. Pingback: Be a Hero: Learn First Aid « Metro Atlanta Red Cross

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