Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) affects some 356,000 Americans every year, making it a leading cause of death. According to this American Heart Association report, more than 7,000 of these instances affect children under the age of eighteen. While the figures show that 10.7 percent survive, there's clear evidence that the application of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) significantly increases survival rates.
How CPR And AED Saved First Grader Logan Powell's Life
Six-year-old Logan Powell's survival is an excellent example of the benefits of CPR and AED use. While apparently healthy, he collapsed suddenly at gym class at his school in Spanish Fork, Utah. The school secretary immediately began CPR. A patrol officer from the Spanish Fork police arrived two minutes later, taking over CPR, while a second officer arrived shortly after with an AED device.
Logan received his first shock just over seven minutes from the first call. His heart didn't recover but, feedback from the AED informed the patrolman that CPR was being administered effectively. Shortly thereafter, EMTs arrived and, after a second shock, his heart started beating. Logan was rushed to a hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to repair a previously undetected congenital heart defect. Two years later, he was playing soccer.
Everyone May Be at Risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Most children and adults who experience SCA notice no obvious symptoms beforehand although some, as was the case with Logan, may feel unwell, experience chest pain, or nausea in the hour or so before.
In children, cardiac abnormalities and genetic disorders are a known contributory factor, but in many other instances, it's not possible to determine the cause of SCA. This is also the case with adults although advanced age, heart disorders, and blood circulation problems increase the risk. In most instances, victims of SCA are unaware of causative medical factors.
Importance of Quick Response to Cardiac Arrest
When someone experiences SCA, they begin to shake and stops beating regularly, preventing the blood from circulating to the brain. If CPR isn't started immediately, brain damage occurs within five to six minutes, followed by death.
CPR compresses the heart forcing it to push blood to the brain. It doesn't restart the heart, but buys time for someone to fetch an AED. The AED automatically applies a shock to the patient's heart which will, hopefully, cause it to re-establish normal contractions.
The National AED Registry
Although AEDs are available, they're often not used because their location isn't obvious to first responders. The National AED Registry™ seeks to overcome this by providing the location of every AED at your site. The register is accessible to 911 dispatchers who can direct callers to the nearest AED, allowing them to administer help, often before EMS personnel arrive. Additionally, the register records who is responsible for the AED, its details, availability, and when it needs servicing.
Need for CPR and AED Training
Most states require that students receive CPR training. Additionally, numerous states require the placement of AEDs in schools including at athletic facilities where the risk is greatest. There should be trained responders on hand to perform CPR and operate the AED. In Logan's case, it was thanks to the school secretary's training that he survived and is fully recovered.
It's vital that schools obtain funding for AED equipment and training so that they have personnel and equipment available on hand during school activities. Certified training is readily available from several organizations, including from Plustrac™ AED Management, developers of the National AED registry. Contact us for guidance on CPR training, AED placement, device management, and how to participate in the registry to ensure first responders know where your AEDs are located.