Monday’s New York Times featured an interesting article, CPR Survival Rates Can Differ Greatly by City by Kira Peikoff. The article raises several excellent points about cardiac arrest survival – outside and inside of the hospital.
In discussing the variances from city to city, an interesting comparison is made between Seattle, which has realized a 20% improvement in survival over the past seven years, and Detroit, where survival rates are only about 3%.
Aside from changes to treatment techniques used in hospital as well as enhancements to the approach taken by EMS in the field, the article notes two other vital points crucial to the improvements shown in Seattle:
Simply, every day people need to know that they can help and how they can do so. Dr. Graham Nichol is quoted as saying that exporting the improvements made in Seattle on a national scale could save as many as 30,000 people each year alone.
What if we could do even better? We can. One glaring omission from the narrative in the Times is any mention of AEDs. A myriad of studies consistently demonstrate time to shock as the key determinant of survival. An onsite AED provides the most expedient means of delivering this life saving energy.
With Knowledge and Action as the first steps, adding the Equipment (AED) completes the picture and gives all of us the best chance of survival.