Cardiac Arrests Facts
Sudden Cardiac Arrest - Leading Cause of Death in North America
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a deadly arrhythmia
that can strike people at any time without warning, regardless of
their diagnosed heart condition. The most common cause of Sudden
Cardiac Arrest is a ventricular fibrillation, uncontrolled contractions
of the heart. While in ventricular fibrillation, the heart does
not pump oxygenated blood to the vital organs. If normal cardiac
rhythm is not restored, death occurs within minutes.
Defibrillation is the method that can, in
many cases, restore the normal cardiac rhythm, using a defibrillator.
This piece of equipment delivers an electric shock to the heart,
stopping the chaotic contractions and restoring the normal rhythm.
The early is the defibrillation, the best are chances of survival.
Each minute delay in providing the shock reduces the chances of
survival by 8 to 10%. In other words, to be effective, the defibrillation
shock must be delivered to the victim within the first few minutes
of the cardiac arrest. At this time, the early defibrillation is
the only known method to restore the normal heart rhythm. The equipment
used to deliver the electric shock, in an emergency situation, is
called AED - Automated External Defibrillator
Public Access Defibrillation
Having trained responders equipped with AEDs, able to respond in
a matter of minutes to a cardiac arrest in public places (parks,
casinos, shopping malls etc.), government buildings, office buildings,
represents the concept of Public Access Defibrillation. Trained
first responders are employees certified in CPR and use of AED.
Because the average time for the ambulance to arrive at scene is
above 8 minutes, it is clear that the first responders, with a response
time of about half of this duration, could play a critical role
in delivering the life saving defibrillation shock.