About Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in America, claiming the lives of more than 300,000 people of all ages each year.  SCA is oftentimes confused with a Heart Attack, but it is in fact a distinct and separate condition.  SCA is caused by an “electrical” problem whereby the heart ceases to function properly and enters a state that renders it incapable of properly pumping blood.  This is in contrast to a heart attack which is customarily caused by some form of blockage that prevents required blood flow (a “plumbing” problem), damaging the heart and sometimes also leading to SCA.

SCA can result from a variety of causes, including an inherent defect, heart disease, and trauma, e.g. commotio cordis.  As its name implies, Sudden Cardiac Arrest often strikes without prior warning symptoms, e.g. chest pain, and generally results in near-immediate loss of consciousness.  Effective treatment options for SCA are limited.  While CPR does help to promote the circulation of oxygen throughout the body – a crucial factor in mitigation of post-event damage for victims, it will generally not restore normal cardiac function following an SCA event.  In the vast majority of circumstances, delivery of an electric shock via defibrillation is the only viable means of restoring normal heart rhythm and saving the victim’s life.

How to Maximize Survival
A major misconception is that merely calling 911 will be sufficient to save an SCA victim. As survival rates from SCA generally decrease by 10% for each minute that passes following a victims collapse, any number of factors, such as traffic delays, inclement weather, remote locations, slow elevators, difficulty locating the correct physical address, or challenges in finding a victim in large and / or crowded facilities, etc. can frustrate the dedicated and heroic efforts of emergency responders such as paramedics and EMTs and prevent them from reaching an SCA victim in time to save his or her life.   An on-site Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can be deployed within minutes of an SCA event during the very small window of time crucial to survival and enable the administration of key life-saving intervention until additional help arrives.

What Is An Automated External Defibrillator (AED)?
Smaller than a laptop computer, AEDs are lightweight and highly portable medical devices that are able to deliver electrical shocks required to restart the hearts of victims of cardiac arrest.  With features such as voice prompts and visual cues, AEDs are very easy for lay people to use.

With technology advancing over recent years, AEDs are now very affordable with units available for less than $1,500.  

How Does An AED Work?
AEDs provide brief, but powerful, electrical stimulation to the chest, interrupting irregular rhythms, such as Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) and Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) to restore the heart's natural rhythm and, just as importantly, to restore the flow of oxygenated blood throughout the body.

Electrodes are placed on the SCA victim to perform an echocardiogram (ECG). The AED automatically checks for a heartbeat and evidence of abnormal rhythm. Voice and text prompts give step-by-step instructions programmed for the non-medical responder to send a shock to restart the heart if a ventricular abnormality is present. The AED will not send a shock to a healthy heart.

Numerous organizations, including the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross, advocate the proliferation of AEDs in conjunction with appropriate cardiac emergency responses plans.    Numerous scientific studies have proven the compelling ability of AED programs to save human lives. Facilities with well-planned programs are providing guests and employees the ultimate service being prepared to respond to life-threatening cardiac emergencies.

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