Of all the places you might find a public-access automated external defibrillator (AED), perhaps nowhere is it more critical than at a gym. A new study shows that having an AED available at fitness centers makes a significant impact on survival rates.
According to an article from the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, a study published in the European Heart Journal that looked at data collected over an 18-year period in 252 sports centers in Italy showed that:
“Onsite AED use significantly reduced the time to first shock from 7.3 to 3.3 minutes...Neurologically intact survival was 93% for patients treated with an onsite AED compared to 9% without an AED.”
This reduction in response time is crucial for patient survival in a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) incident. Successful defibrillation is highly dependent on how quickly defibrillation occurs. For each minute in cardiac arrest, the chance of survival goes down by about 10%. After as few as 10 minutes, survival is unlikely.
For those unfamiliar with this lifesaving resource, an AED is a small, portable, computerized device that is relatively easy for anyone to operate. It automatically analyzes the heart rhythm, determines if a shock is needed and charges itself to be ready to defibrillate.
Or perhaps you’ve seen these devices in a community fitness center, at a hotel or in a restaurant, and have nervously wondered whether it’s really safe for a bystander to use one in an emergency. It is! AEDs cannot accidentally shock someone, it doesn’t take a medical degree to operate one and that moment of shocking the patient isn’t as frightening as the high-voltage drama you see on television shows. For more information, check out our blog post, Common Misconceptions About AEDs.
Ready to learn how to use an AED yourself? An ASHI or MEDIC First Aid instructor near you would love to show you. Click the button below to find a class.