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Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death: 10 Things Every Community Should Know

AEDs Save Lives


Here's what every community needs to know in order to save lives of youth athletes, coaches, officials or spectators in the stands in sudden cardiac arrest (SCA):

  1. SCA kills at least 350,000 people in the United States each year, more people than all forms of cancer combined.

  2. Without proper treatment an SCA victim is virtually certain to die, often within minutes.

  3. Because CPR is not, by itself, an effective treatment for the arrhythmia that causes SCA, prompt CPR is not enough by itself: the survival rate for victims in SCA treated by CPR alone is between 2 to 5%.

  4. A community which has implemented a strong cardiac chain of survival (recognizing a cardiac emergency and calling 911, early CPR, early defibrillation, and early advanced cardiac life supportcan dramatically increase the survival rate for SCA victims, saving as many as one-third to one-half of victims with treatable heart arrhythmia

  5. The most critical link in the cardiac chain of survival is early defibrillation with an Automatic External Defibrillator. Each minute that defibrillation is delayed reduces the victim's chance of survival by about 10 percent.

  6. AEDs are relatively inexpensive, simple to use and virtually foolproof.

  7. AEDs require minimal training (courses take only two and four hours), and established training programs, such as those sponsored by your local chapters of the American Heart Association, American Red Cross and National Safety Council, are available in or near your community.

  8. While the use of AEDs are subject to state law, all fifty states now have Good Samaritan laws that help protect laypersons from liability for attempting a rescue of an SCA victim and using an AED, the liability risk is lowest for communities and organizations that implement comprehensive AED programs.

  9. Implementing an AED program requires a team of committed people drawn from diverse groups within the community to create public awareness and support.

  10. Funding an AED program may be easier than you think