March 25, 2013 | by

You Can Become A (Life-Saving) Neighborhood Superhero

Cardiac Arrest Patient1,000 sudden cardiac deaths a day–and many preventable!

1,000 Americans die every day from sudden cardiac arrest, making it a leading cause of death in the US. But many of these deaths would be prevented if CPR was initiated, and an AED was deployed, in the first few minutes after a cardiac arrest. Over the past 50 years, 300 million people have been trained in CPR, yet today, CPR is only performed in about 25% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases. Think about that–only 1 out of 4 times is CPR underway when paramedics arrive. And even worse, publicly available automated external defibrillators (AED’s), the ones you see in airports, schools and other places of assembly, like hotels, are retrieved and used only 1% or 2% of the time when available– primarily because lay rescuers don’t think about them, and don’t know where to find them. Without intervention, a cardiac arrest victim has only about 10 minutes to live. But CPR suspends time, essentially stopping that 10-minute clock, and sustains life until more advanced care can arrive. So after 10 minutes you have no chance of survival; and brain damage begins several minutes before that. Even some of the best EMS systems in the country have a response time goal of 7 minutes. Not much room for error; this excruciatingly short window of opportunity is exactly why most people do not survive a sudden cardiac arrest. Today, more than ever, citizens helping citizens is the only way for the “chain of survival” to work. Local government response times are not improving in this economy – if anything they are getting worse. This simple fact should “shock” you into action: When CPR begins, and an AED is deployed, in the first few minutes after a cardiac arrest, survival rates can approach 80%.

Read the full article by John Nosta at Forbes.