The Power of AED Defibrillators

The Power of AED Defibrillators

In an emergency, every second counts. This is especially true in cardiac emergencies, where access to immediate, effective treatment is imperative. One piece of equipment that's been revolutionary in treating sudden cardiac arrests is the Automated External Defibrillator (AED). 

Compelling real-life AED defibrillator stories from across age groups and walks of life:

  • Mary Tappe - In 2004, Mary Tappe, a 65-year-old woman in Des Moines, Iowa, was saved by an AED when she collapsed due to cardiac arrest while working out at her local gym. A personal trainer at the gym used the facility's AED to revive her. This incident underlines the importance of AEDs in fitness centers and the impact of training staff in their usage.
  • Mike Papale - In 2006, 17-year-old Mike Papale, a high school basketball player, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while waiting for his mother outside a friend's house in Wallingford, Connecticut. A neighbor, trained in CPR and AED use, quickly intervened and used his home AED to revive Mike before the paramedics arrived. The story, which you can read in detail, underscores the importance of home AEDs and being trained in their use.
  • John Ogburn - In 2017, John Ogburn, a 36-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina resident, suffered a cardiac arrest while working at his computer in a local Panera Bread. Two nearby police officers, Lawrence Guiler and Nikolina Bajic, quickly responded, performing CPR and using an AED that was present in the facility to revive Ogburn after a grueling 42-minute battle. 
  • Claire Crawford - In 2017, Claire Crawford, a 17-year-old high school volleyball player in Georgia, collapsed during a game due to a cardiac arrest. Thanks to the quick thinking of her coaches and the school nurse, an AED was used to save Claire's life. This incident emphasized the importance of having AEDs in school settings and sports facilities
  • Finally, highlighting a scene that no one will soon forget, Darmar Hamlin's lifesaving interaction with an AED and CPR occurred in a dramatic setting – during a regular season Buffalo Bills' game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2nd, 2023.   The Buffalo Bills' medical team and athletic trainers employed both an AED and CPR to resuscitate him after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the field. 

Now recovered, Hamlin is spearheading efforts through his charity, Chasing M's,  to promote CPR and AED training, while inspiring young people to pursue their dreams fearlessly.

Alongside the NFL, Hamlin is kick-starting a cardiac arrest safety initiative. The CPR Tour announced by the 25-year-old will not be limited to Buffalo but will make its mark in various cities, including Cincinnati and his hometown, Pittsburgh. Each stopover on the tour will witness CPR training sessions and AED distributions, benefiting youth sports teams and community organizations.

This widespread educational endeavor is critical. 

Consider these statistics about AED defibrillator use:

  1. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), over 350,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year. 
  2. Alarmingly, approximately 90% of these incidents result in death. According to the AHA, if defibrillation is delivered promptly, survival rates can be as high as 60%.  
  3. AEDs are used in less than half of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, indicating a significant gap in lifesaving potential.
  4. The rate of survival decreases by 7-10% for each minute that defibrillation is delayed.
  5. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that having AEDs in public locations can increase the likelihood of survival by nearly 2.5 times.
  6. According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, around 16% of sudden deaths in athletes are due to sudden cardiac arrest. However, the Journal of Athletic Training reports that when AEDs are used in a school setting, survival rates can reach as high as 71%.
  7. Airports are often equipped with AEDs due to the high concentration of people. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that survival rates for cardiac arrests at airports could be as high as 50% with the use of an AED.

These statistics underscore the crucial importance of increasing public awareness about AEDs, as well as their availability in both public and private settings. Positive outcomes in sudden cardiac arrest cases often comes down to the immediate use of defibrillator technology.

AEDs help save lives. It doesn't matter if you're an athlete, an executive, or a grandmother, sudden cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, anytime. The key to survival is immediate response, and that's where the availability of an AED can make all the difference.

If you are entrusted with the care of an individual at a higher risk of requiring AED intervention, it's worth contemplating acquiring a defibrillator for personal use and traveling with it. 

At the very least, confirm the presence of an AED at frequented locations by your loved ones, be it the gym, church, school, workplace, or sports events. It's equally important to ensure trained personnel, proficient in operating the AED, are readily available at these sites. The combination of accessible AEDs and trained responders is a crucial factor in enhancing survival rates during cardiac emergencies.