Why Use a Defibrillator?

Why are Public Accessible Defibrillators Important?

Statistically, one in a thousand will suffer an out of hospital cardiac arrest and currently the UK survival rate is only 10%.  In the pilot study in Mumbles this meant that there would be about 20 cardiac arrests each year and only 2 are likely to survive.  With timely intervention of CPR and defibrillation as many as 15 people might have been saved. 

Of course these figures are statistical interpretations, however, even if you could save just one live in the community and avoid the distress and impact on family and friends, it would be worth overcoming any fears of using a defibrillator. 

The facts regarding out of hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) are:

  • There is currently over 60,000 OHCAs each year in the UK.
  • A person who has had a cardiac arrest is not breathing and unresponsive; clinically, they are already dead and therefore anything you can do will not harm the person, but may save their life.
  • Without timely intervention of CPR and defibrillation the chances of survival are less than 3%; with CPR and defibrillation it can be as much as 75%.
  • Time is of the essence; the window of opportunity is just five or six minutes; with the passage of each minute the heart degenerates by 10%.
  • Ambulances are targeted to reach emergency ‘red call-outs’ within 8 minutes, many arrive later. Therefore, if the public relies on someone else to use a defibrillator it is likely that the patient will be beyond recovery.
  • Most people lack confidence and are fearful about using defibrillators, even though they are intended to be used by the layperson without any training.

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