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What Is The Defibrillator Survival Rate

The number of individuals dying from cardiac events is on the rise after declining for more than a decade, according to the American Heart Association.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a serious medical condition that does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, any time, and even to extremely healthy individuals, such as professional athletes.

The technology in Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) has advanced so much that, even untrained bystanders can save a life just by following the verbal and sometimes visual instructions offered by modern AEDs.

What are defibrillators, what is the survival rate of these devices, and who can use them are just some of the questions we will answer in this blog post.

What is a Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest is the abrupt termination of heart function, breathing, and consciousness. The problem usually originates in your heart’s electrical system, which disrupts its pumping action and deprives your body of blood flow.

What is a Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest isn’t the same as a heart attack, in which blood flow to a section of the heart is blocked. A heart attack, on the other hand, can occasionally generate an electrical shock that causes sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest can be fatal if not treated quickly. With fast, competent medical care, survival is possible. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and the use of a defibrillator may improve the probability of survival until emergency services arrive.

Cardiac Arrest Occurs Without Warning

The first thing to remember about a Sudden Cardiac Arrest is that it most often occurs without warning. The victim’s breathing if they have any at all will typically be shallower than usual, and he or she will often be unconscious. It’s a dangerous medical emergency that necessitates the usage of a defibrillator and immediate CPR in order to save the patient.

Cardiac Arrest Occurs Without Warning

Cardiac arrest is a serious condition often caused by a heart rhythm abnormality, and each year, people die needlessly from cardiac arrest because of the lack of available public access AEDs. In many nations around the world, it is one of the most common causes of death.

The number of cardiac arrests has increased dramatically during the last decade, and it is one of medicine’s most pressing challenges because more individuals, of all ages, are dying from sudden cardiac arrest.

Cardiac Arrest Causes

Cardiac arrest can be caused by, smoking, drinking, obesity, diabetes, or existing heart problems.

Treating a sudden cardiac arrest victim within ten minutes after the cardiac arrest is imperative because when the heart stops beating or is beating irregularly, the body is not getting the oxygen that is needed to survive.

Immediate CPR and Defibrillation

Immediate CPR is imperative because the body can suffer irreversible brain damage within minutes. The human body can suffer brain and tissue damage from a lack of oxygen very quickly if a normal heartbeat is not restored rapidly.

Although immediately administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and a defibrillator improves the chances of survival significantly, more often than not they are not administered to the victim, and even when they are, they are typically too late.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that there are many methods to improve survival rates and intervene in cardiac emergencies, it appears that most people are not aware of how to react or are hesitant even when they have an automatic external defibrillator at their disposal.

Immediate CPR and Defibrillation

A cardiac arrest victim who receives immediate CPR may be reliant on bystanders with a defibrillator to save his or her life. Medical personnel and emergency medical services are frequently too late with the average response time in the US at over 9 minutes. A typical cardiac arrest victim only has 10 minutes to be revived without suffering brain damage.

As a result, we have chosen to look at all of the possibilities for improving cardiac arrest survival rates and assisting cardiac arrest victims.

Here are some of the ways you can react in a critical situation and save someone’s life.

What Are The Best Ways To Treat Cardiac Arrest?

First, if you suspect someone is having a cardiac arrest, call 911 and then immediately start administering CPR as well as deploy an automated external defibrillator on the cardiac arrest victim.

CPR is cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which is an emergency procedure that helps to keep blood and oxygen flowing throughout the patient’s body by pushing on the victim’s chest repeatedly at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute, which forces the heart to pump blood throughout the body.

If immediate CPR and defibrillation are applied within the first 3 minutes most of the victims of cardiac arrest survive yet each minute that goes by without the patient being revived results in a significant drop in the survival rate.

10 Precious Minutes

Most people don’t realize how little time a victim of sudden cardiac arrest has to be revived before reaching an irreversible point. In fact, every minute that passes for the victim without lifesaving oxygen being delivered to their vital organs reduces the chance of survival by a staggering 10%. If not revived within 10 minutes of collapsing, the cardiac arrest victim’s brain damage is typically irreversible.

Bystander Apprehension

Even though many people believe that high-quality CPR can only be administered by first responders or emergency medical services professionals, it should be attempted by any bystander that is physically able to provide compressions. In fact, modern AEDs coach an untrained bystander through CPR including coaching on the frequency and depth of the CPR compressions. The technology is amazing and has advanced exponentially in the last 10 years.

Bystander Apprehension

Don’t Hesitate

Successful resuscitation can be performed by anyone, and the most important thing to remember is to react immediately and do not wait for emergency services to arrive. In fact, the average national response time in the US for emergency services is over 9 minutes.

Your AED will guide you through when to start compressions and when to pause if needed while the AED analyzes the ECG heart rhythm of the patient. If cardiac arrest is recognized and if it is shockable by the AED, the device will guide you through every step.

What Is A Defibrillator?

Over 350,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in the United States every year, making it one of the country’s leading causes of death. That’s about one person dying every 90 seconds.

Sudden cardiac arrest is caused by a heart that begins to beat in an irregular rhythm, most often ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia.

The heart’s main function is to transport oxygen throughout the body with strong, consistent beats. The heart starts twitching violently rather than beating regularly when Sudden Cardiac Arrest occurs. Because the heart is no longer pumping adequately, it is unable to deliver oxygen to the brain. Without sufficient oxygen, irreversible brain damage can occur, and people who suffer cardiac arrest die within minutes.

What Is A Defibrillator?

Defibrillators are AED machines that use an electric jolt or shock to attempt to restore a healthy rhythm back to a heart. They may be used to treat or prevent arrhythmia when the heart’s rhythm is erratic or too fast or slow. Defibrillators can also be used to bring a stopped heart back into sync.

Defibrillators have a number of different functions. Automated external defibrillators (AEDs), which are found in many public places, were created to assist individuals who suffer from unexpected cardiac arrest. In an emergency, even an untrained bystander can utilize these machines.

Defibrillators can help people who have a high risk of developing a life-threatening arrhythmia and may even save lives. Cardiac rhythm management devices, such as implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are surgically implanted in the body. Wearable cardioverter defibrillators (WCDs), are externally worn devices that monitor and manage the heart’s rhythm.

A cardiac defibrillator, both internal and external, is a medical device that allows for the restoration of a person’s normal heartbeat by delivering an electric shock to their heart.

The automated external defibrillator is the most widely used because it allows an untrained bystander to provide immediate defibrillation even if they have never seen an AED before.

Modern AEDs are really simple to operate, and you don’t need to be a trained medical professional to use one.

How Does Defibrillation Work?

Electrical impulses in a healthy heart cause a coordinated series of muscular contractions that enable the organ to pump blood. When the heart’s electrical signals are disrupted in ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia, it is unable to regulate itself. As a result, the heart muscle does not contract in an organized manner. A defibrillation shock from an AED restores these scrambled signals and allows the heart to function normally.

How Does Defibrillation Work?

A defibrillator delivers an electrical shock to the heart’s surface, causing it to depolarize and end the arrhythmia. Once this depolarization occurs, the cardiac electrical signals typically pause for a short time before resuming with a normal rhythm.

This is what happens when a sudden cardiac arrest victim is resuscitated with an AED: 

  • When the heart changes from a normal rhythm to ventricular fibrillation, it is a very serious and life-threatening situation. Due to lack of oxygen, the victim will typically collapse and often will appear to be breathing but his or her respiration is irregular and ineffective.
  • The heart is quivering or fibrillating, but it isn’t enough to sustain life because the heart can’t pump blood throughout the body. When there is no regular heart rhythm despite the fact that the individual is not yet clinically dead, they will be soon if a normal heart rhythm is not re-established quickly.
  • A shock of electricity from an AED passes between the electrode pads and into a person’s heart when he or she is shocked. When a patient’s cardiac cells depolarize, the chaotic and ineffective rhythm in the heart is halted, generally known as defibrillating (de-fibrillating).
  • When the heart has been defibrillated and restored to a normal rhythm, it begins to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body again.

Is A Defibrillator Effective?

Even though many people are not aware that a defibrillator can be used by an untrained bystander to save a life, AEDs are a technological marvel. Modern AEDs are so advanced that they can provide life-saving treatment for cardiac arrest almost on autopilot. CPR of course must be performed by a bystander but it is really amazing what the technology can do and has done to save so many lives. It is a rare medical device that can be used without emergency medical services personnel, and that can actually provide a drastically improved survival rate.

Is A Defibrillator Effective?

Early defibrillation and CPR are the keys to cardiac arrest patients because they provide higher survival rates and prevent starving the body and organs from oxygen. Impaired brain function, neurological disorders, respiratory ailments, and damage to vital organs can possibly be avoided due to quick action.

AEDs today recognize the difference between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest. If the patient is not suffering from a shockable arrhythmia, the device will not provide a shock. This allows bystanders to not have to worry about doing something wrong during a save attempt.

According to recent research from the National Institute of Health, a good mix of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation can save lives and boost survival rates to 70%.

A sudden cardiac event is a stressful situation even for a trained emergency professional but for an untrained bystander, it can be debilitating to the point that many bystanders don’t react. If you find yourself in this situation remember you might be the only hope for this individual that probably has loved ones or a family. Be strong and act quickly and don’t hesitate.

These devices are very easy to use and almost all modern AEDs offer loud and audible instructions to walk the user through lifesaving CPR and defibrillation.

Doing nothing almost always leads to a tragic outcome, but if you give them prompt cardiopulmonary resuscitation, you will be able to provide them with the medical care they require and perhaps save a life.

Note that AEDs protect the responder with instructions to step back before any shock is delivered and all have fail-safe protocols built in to protect a bystander from electrical shock.

It’s also important to note that the device won’t give you an electric shock if it detects that your heart isn’t in need of assistance, so you’ll still be able to provide effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation. If an AED does not recognize a shockable arrhythmia it is still very important to administer CPR. The lifesaving protocol will provide some oxygen through the vital organs and might be the only thing that keeps the victim from suffering brain damage from the lack of oxygen.

Who Can Use A Defibrillator?

Any bystander can try to save a life with an AED. The moment you find someone who is suffering from a suspected cardiac arrest, your main priority should be a fast assessment and decision-making. An AED will guide you through the process of performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation while it analyzes whether or not a shockable arrhythmia has been detected.

Don’t hesitate to use an AED and despite the fact that many individuals believe they can’t do anything until the emergency technicians arrive, it is easy to use a defibrillator even for an average untrained person.

The automatic external defibrillator’s electrodes are able to identify the abnormal heart rhythm and generate a defibrillation shock in order to restore the heartbeat.

Research from the American Heart Association has discovered that out of the approximately 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the United States each year, roughly two-thirds of them happen outside of people’s homes. When a response is used, it is usually by a complete stranger.

Unfortunately, fewer than 47 percent of these individuals were able to receive the optimal therapy before emergency crews got there, and this might have saved their lives.

AEDs Decrease the Time-to-Defibrillation

The defibrillator, which was created in 1973 and is a medical device with computer chips, batteries, and capacitors that allows it to evaluate cardiac rhythm and provide shock treatment to cardiac arrest patients.

There are 6 major manufacturers of FDA-approved public access AEDs in the US. Simple shock-inducing AEDs, semi-automatic versions, and fully automated systems that analyze the heart rhythm and deliver an electrical current if necessary are among them.

AEDs Decrease the Time-to-Defibrillation

The time it takes to defibrillate a patient varies based on factors such as the availability of emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and the average time it takes for first responders to arrive on the scene.

AEDs are also built with safety in mind, ensuring that the patient or person delivering the shock is not harmed if a mistake is made while filling out an application.

Increasing the number of publicly accessible AEDs has been a recommendation/need of several health organizations in the developed world. Every year, over 200,000 AEDs are sold in the United States. In many areas where AEDs are available, the time it takes to defibrillate has decreased dramatically, resulting in improved cardiac arrest survival rates.

Out-of-Hospital SCA Survival Rates

From 2005 to 2007 a study was performed that resulted in some very amazing results. Out-of-hospital cardiac arrests show a significant increase in survival percentages for cardiac arrest victims that received an AED shock. 38% of victims shocked with an AED survived hospital discharge whereas those who received CPR only survived 9% of the time. Finally, of those who received no CPR or defibrillation, only 7% survived. So clearly AEDs save lives but how does the speed of defibrillation affect the survival rate.

Rapid Defibrillation Survival Rates

Survival from V-Fib is largely determined by the amount of time from collapse to defibrillation and the sooner defibrillation is administered the better.

The survival rate from cardiac arrest drops by 7–10% for every minute that a patient has to wait for defibrillation.

Rapid Defibrillation Survival Rates

The survival rate was notably higher among patients who received their first defibrillation no later than three minutes after the witnessed collapse: 74 percent for those who received their first defibrillation no later than three minutes after the witnessed collapse, and 49 percent for those who received their first defibrillation at three minutes or later.

AED Laws

There are currently no federally mandated AED laws except for requiring most AEDs to have prescriptions to purchase a device. Note these prescriptions are for the device instead of a prescription written for a medication for a specific individual.

Each state has its own AED laws in order to make the device more accessible, and in some states, it is already required in certain industries and public buildings.

Where Can You Find Defibrillators?

AEDs can be found in many locations, including hospitals, offices, schools, shopping malls, grocery stores, and airports.

AEDs are used by emergency first responders who are often equipped and trained to do so. Some persons with underlying cardiac problems may be at a greater risk of experiencing a heart attack. Your health care provider will be able to tell you if a home AED is an option for you.

Defibrillators may be found in nearly any place where people congregate, including shopping malls, airports, stadiums, and even subway systems.

There is still a nationwide shortage of public access defibrillators in the United States, but this is changing as more and more AEDs are purchased each year.

Although the federal government has not mandated public buildings to have AEDs, most locations with a large number of people like shopping malls and airports do.

An AED is a relatively inexpensive life-saving device and can cost anywhere from $1000 to 2,000. The numbers don’t lie and if a cardiac arrest victim is defibrillated within the first 3 minutes from collapse they have a 70% chance of survival. That is significant and it really comes down to having more public access AEDs.

Workplace AED placement has increased dramatically in the last 10 years due to better training and lower costs for purchasing an AED. The technology keeps getting better and the prices have been falling. A workplace safety training initiative is really something that is becoming popular in most companies.

Understanding how to use a defibrillator is an important skill for anyone who wishes to have this potentially life-saving piece of equipment on hand. Providing immediate CPR and defibrillation within the first three minutes after the collapse is a key target and can significantly improve the chances of saving the SCA victim. We hope that you found the information in our blog post about these devices informative and helpful, including details about their survival rates. If you are interested in purchasing one or learning more, please contact us today!

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