Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States. Each year Emergency Medical Services treat about 383,000 victims of sudden cardiac arrest before they reach the hospital and about 12% of those victims survive. Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen to anyone at any time. It is important for organizations to implement AED programs so trained individuals are prepared to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest emergency. Placing automated external defibrillators in key locations and making sure staff members are trained to use them can mean the difference between life and death.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest occurs when the heart stops beating abruptly and without warning. If this happens blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. Sudden Cardiac Arrest happens instantly or shortly after symptoms appear. Most sudden cardiac arrest incidents are due to abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias. A common arrhythmia is ventricular fibrillation in which the heart’s electrical impulses suddenly become chaotic and ineffective. Blood flow to the brain stops abruptly, then the victim collapses and quickly loses consciousness. Death usually follows unless a normal heart rhythm is restored within minutes.
Heart Attack is often mistakenly used to describe sudden cardiac arrest. Although a heart attack may cause cardiac arrest and sudden death the terms do not mean the same thing. Heart Attacks are caused by a blockage that stops blood flow to the heart. The term "heart attack" refers to the death of heart muscle tissue due to the loss of blood supply. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or pain.
Defibrillation is a process in which an electronic device gives an electrical shock to the heart. Defibrillation stops ventricular fibrillation by using an electrical shock and allows the return of a normal heart rhythm. A victim’s chance of survival decreases by 10% for every minute that passes without defibrillation. In recent years small portable defibrillators have become available. These devices are called automated external defibrillators. An automated external defibrillator is a device that analyzes a heart rhythm and prompts the user to deliver a shock when necessary. These devices only require the user to turn it on and follow the audio instructions when prompted.
The American Heart Association strongly encourages organizations to implement AED programs to increase the chances of survival for people who have heart-related emergencies. With an AED program an individual will be better prepared to save the life of a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. The goal of every AED program is to deliver defibrillation to a sudden cardiac arrest victim within 3-5 minutes after collapse.
Automated External Defibrillator Locations:
- Field House
- Baseball/Softball Complex
- Main Office
- Launch Pad
- ESE Lead Office
Signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest:
- Sudden Collapse
- Agonal Breathing
- Seizures or Convulsions
What to do in the event of this emergency?
- Call 911 IMMEDIATELY!
- Send someone to grab the AED.
- Begin CPR.
- Apply AED/Follow the prompts.
- Send someone to meet EMS personnel and direct them to the scene.
- Transport athlete.