The Women's Health Center of Springfield recently donated a Zoll automated external defibrillator (AED) to the Edgar May Health and Recreation Center, also located in Springfield.
An automated external defibrillator or AED is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient, and is able to treat them through defibrillation, the application of electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.
Uncorrected, these cardiac conditions (ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, asystole) rapidly lead to irreversible brain damage and death. After approximately three to five minutes, irreversible brain/tissue damage may begin to occur. For every minute that a person in cardiac arrest goes without being successfully treated (by defibrillation), the chance of survival decreases by 10 percent.
Automated external defibrillators are generally either held by trained personnel who will attend events or are public access units which can be found in places including corporate and government offices, shopping centres, airports, restaurants, casinos, hotels, sports stadiums, schools and universities, community centers, fitness centers, health clubs, workplaces and any other location where people may congregate.
The location of a public access AED should take in to account where large groups of people gather, regardless of age or activity. Children as well as adults may fall victim to sudden cardiac arrest.
Anne Stohrer, M.D., who initiated the purchase and donation of the life-saving equipment, said, "This is an important piece of equipment that needs to be at the Recreation Center. While we certainly hope the need never arises, the AED provides a guide to the complete chain of survival in the event of a cardiac emergency as well as electrical defibrillation if necessary."
The Recreation Center is utilized by a diverse population, including many seniors and residents who are choosing to increase their exercise using the Prescription For Exercise Program prescribed by their health care provider.
Christian Craig, director of the Edgar May Health & Recreation Center, said, "In 2009, we saw close to 90,000 visitors and we take personal safety very seriously. We are extremely grateful to Stohrer and The Women's Health Center for their generous donation, which will help us in our efforts to provide a safe environment for our visitors."
Stand clear: Think you need an AED?
Thinking about an AED in your home, business, health club, library or senior center? It's easy to learn more. AEDs are accurate and easy to use. With a few hours of training, anyone can learn to operate an AED safely. There are different brands of AEDs, but the same basic steps apply to all of them. The AHA does not recommend a specific model.
•People who are responsible for operating an AED need CPR training
Early CPR is an integral part of providing lifesaving aid to people suffering sudden cardiac arrest. After the AED is attached and delivers a shock, the typical AED will prompt the operator to continue CPR while the device continues to analyze the victim.
•If AEDs are so easy to use, why the need for training?
An AED operator must know how to recognize the signs of a sudden cardiac arrest, when to activate the EMS system, and how to do CPR. Training also teaches the operator how to avoid potentially hazardous situations.
•Can anyone buy an AED?
AEDs are sold under guidelines of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA may require someone who purchases an AED to present a physician's prescription for the device. Your local EMS system can help you.
•How can I enroll in a CPR or AED class?
The American Heart Association offers CPR and AED training through its network of AHA Training Centers. To locate a Training Center near you, call 1-877-AHA-4CPR, or use our online class finder.