Aug 31, 2017
AEDs Save Lives

Researchers recently highlighted the importance of having automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) at athletic venues in a presentation at the European Society of Cardiology Congress. In their 18-year study, the investigators found high neurologically intact survival rates from cardiac arrest at amateur sports centers that were equipped with an AED.

According to a release published on ScienceDaily, over the course of the study, the majority of sports centers (82 percent) purchased AEDs. Altogether, there were 26 sudden cardiac arrests at the centers during the study’s 18 years, with 15 of those occurring at facilities equipped with an AED. Among the centers that did not have an AED onsite, neurologically intact survival from cardiac arrest rates were significantly lower.

“Our results clearly show that the presence of an AED saves lives,” said Dr. Diego Penela, the study’s first author and a Cardiologist at Guglielmo da Saliceto Hospital in Piacenza, Italy. “Out of 15 patients who suffered a cardiac arrest in centres with an AED, 14 survived and had no neurological damage (93%). That compares to just one survivor without neurological damage out of 11 cardiac arrests in centres without an AED (9%).”

The Progetto Vita (Project Life) study focused on 252 sports centers and recorded data on resuscitation, survival rates, and response times in the event of cardiac arrest. Its findings suggest that response time is more important for survival than waiting for emergency medical personnel to arrive.

“The chance of survival decreases with every passing minute in which defibrillation is not performed,” said Dr. Penela.

One of the benefits of AEDs is that lay people may use them effectively. Having and using the AED at the center reduced the first shock time by four minutes.

“The probability of survival was higher when a member of the public used the AED rather than waiting for medical assistance,” said Dr. Daniela Aschieri, Chief of Progetto Vita.

“Onsite AEDs provide an excellent neurologically intact survival rate for exercise-related cardiac arrest,” Dr. Aschieri continued. “An AED is a safe tool, even when used by an untrained citizen. In light of our results, we recommend that AEDs be acquired by amateur sports and fitness centres. Educational programmes should be conducted to increase awareness about the issue of sudden death and provide basic knowledge about AED use.”

Image by BrokenSphere

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