Tag Archives: AED

The History of Defibrillation, Defibrillators and Portable AEDs

From dogs to tablespoons to Zolls, AEDs have come a long way

As you can tell, we’re on a bit of a history kick here at Cardio Partners and AED.com! This week we’re dialing the way-back machine to 1899 to learn more about the origins of defibrillation and the birth of AEDs. To learn more about the History of CPR, check out last week’s post!

1899: The Dog Days of Defibrillation

Defibrillation was discovered at the University of Geneva in 1899 by physiologists Jean-Louis Prevost and Frédéric Batelli. In the course of their research on ventricular fibrillation — a condition that occurs when the heart beats with rapid and erratic electrical impulses and causes the chambers in the heart to quiver ineffectively — they discovered that they could induce fibrillation in dogs and then, with an even higher jolt, defibrillate by applying high-current shocks directly to the surface of the heart.

Admittedly, this was a pretty significant discovery, but because they used a very high voltage, the poor pup’s heart was ultimately incapacitated and subsequent defibrillation theories focused more on the harmful effects of the procedure rather than the potential positive, life-saving effects we’re all familiar with today (National Center for Biotechnology Information).

1933: Self-Starter for Dead Man’s Heart

A generation later, in October of 1933, Popular Mechanics ran an article about Dr. Albert S. Hyman’s promising new invention, Hyman’s Otor.

The device was essentially a “hollow steel needle, through which a carefully insulated wire runs to the open point. Both the needle itself and its central wire are connected to the terminals of a light, spring-driven generator, provided with a current-interrupting device. This mechanism can be adjusted to give electrical impulses with the frequency of the heart-beat from infancy to old age. When the physician faces a case of heart stoppage, he inserts the needle between the first and second ribs into the right auricle of the heart, and starts the generator at the required frequency” (Source: Modern Mechanix).

The device was tested on animals and revived 14 out of 43 victims of cardiac arrest (Science Museum, London). Even though the device received positive press coverage, it was perceived as interfering with natural events and was not accepted by the medical community.

1947: What a Difference a Decade Makes…and Spoons

If you’ve been wondering where the tablespoons come in, you’re about to find out! The first successful defibrillation was reported by an American surgeon, Dr. Claude S. Beck, in 1947.

His patient, a 14-year-old boy, “tolerated the surgery well but went into cardiac arrest during closure” (Resuscitation Journal). Using a combination of direct cardiac massage, drugs, and a shock delivered by what appears to be gauze-covered spoons, the boy was successfully resuscitated (Case Western Reserve University).

1950: Zoll Begins Working on an External Pacemaker

Yes, the Zoll that we all know and love was founded by a Harvard cardiologist and an AED pioneer. “In 1952, Dr. Zoll and a team of other doctors in Boston applied electric charges externally to the chest to resuscitate two patients whose hearts had stopped. The first patient lived only 20 minutes. The second patient survived for 11 months, after 52 hours of electrical stimulation” (New York Times).

1965: Defibrillators Go Mobile

In 1965, a professor from Northern Ireland, Frank Pantridge, invented the world’s first portable defibrillator. Known as  “the father of emergency medicine,” Pantridge’s device relied on a car battery for current. The 150 pound device was installed in an ambulance and was first used in 1966 (BBC News).

1972: LBJ is Saved Today

In 1972, when President Lyndon B. Johnson suffered a massive heart attack at his daughter’s Virginia home, he was revived by a portable defibrillator.

“Dr. Richard S. Crampton of the University of Virginia Medical School in Charlottesville, who rushed a mobile coronary care unit to former President Lyndon B. Johnson…said in an interview: ‘It has tremendous potential application. Conceptually, this ought to be on every plane, train, bus, at stations and at airports, in case someone suddenly collapses. It’s like a fire extinguisher; you just hang it on the wall and you go put out the fire, which happens to be ventricular fibrillation’” (New York Times).

2018: Where We Are With AEDs Now

Today, portable AEDs are so easy to use that many states require their placement in schools, sports arenas, airports, health clubs, casinos, and other public places. Portable AEDs are also available for home use.

Unlike professor Pantridge’s “portable” defibrillator, modern AEDs typically weigh approximately 3 pounds and are fully automated.

For the full scoop on CPR or AEDs, CPR and AED Training, or to purchase an AED, visit AED.com or call Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. You can also email us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

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Why is the Chain of Survival So Important?

Understanding the 5 Links in the Chain of Survival Can Improve Outcomes for SCA Survivors

The Chain of Survival is a metaphorical depiction of a series of critical actions that rescuers (bystanders or paramedics) need to take to improve the likelihood of survival following a cardiac arrest. Why is it so important? Put simply, knowing and understanding the five key “links” in the chain can vastly reduce mortality rates.

A majority of SCA survivors receive immediate help from bystanders. In fact, the time between the onset of arrest symptoms and care determines the likelihood of survival. Whether you’re a trained medical professional or a layperson, understanding the Chain of Survival can make all the difference.

Need more compelling evidence? The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation reports that “If treatment is not provided within 10 minutes, the survival rate is close to zero. Because minutes count, the public plays a crucial role in saving lives threatened by SCA.”

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the 5 links in the adult out-of-hospital Chain of Survival are:

  • Recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
  • Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with an emphasis on chest compressions
  • Rapid defibrillation
  • Basic and advanced emergency medical services
  • Advanced life support and post-cardiac arrest care

Early Recognition and Call for Emergency Assistance

The first link, early recognition of cardiac arrest and the prompt activation of the emergency response protocol, is absolutely essential. When an out-of-hospital cardiac emergency occurs, dial 911 immediately. If the incident should occur on a job site or in a professional setting, the internal alert system should also be triggered, which will improve the odds obtaining of skilled, on-site assistance and equipment as soon as possible.

If someone reports experiencing pain or discomfort in the chest, jaw, neck or back, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, or discomfort in the arm or shoulder, call 911. If an individual is unresponsive and is not breathing, call 911.

If possible, send someone to retrieve the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED).

What’s the Difference Between a Heart Attack and Sudden Cardiac Arrest? Well, in short, a heart attack is caused by a blockage in a vein or artery and SCA is caused by an electrical malfunction in the heart. Cardiac arrest may be caused by a heart attack, SCA, drowning, electrocution, or an obstructed airway. To make matters even more confusing, symptoms of a heart attack may vary and can be different for men than for women.

Don’t hesitate to call 911! It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Prompt CPR with Chest Compressions

The second link dictates that CPR should commence immediately after a cardiac arrest has occurred. If you do not know how to perform CPR, a 911 operator will talk you through the procedure. If you are not trained in CPR, use hands-only CPR by pushing hard and fast on the center of the chest at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. The compression depth for adults should be at least two inches and the chest should recoil completely between compressions.

Anyone can perform CPR, and if possible it should be done without interruption until skilled emergency medical responders arrive.

Remember, any assistance is better than no assistance at all.

Rapid Defibrillation

As soon as an AED becomes available, the rescuer should place the device next to the victim. Simply turn it on and follow the visual and audio prompts. If a shock is advised, stand clear and make sure no one is in contact with the patient, then administer the shock.

The Zoll AED Plus, for example, will inform the rescuer when they are or aren’t pushing hard or fast enough. It’ll even show you the depth of each compression in real time. The AED Plus offers support to help rescuers successfully complete the Chain of Survival.

Basic and Advanced Care

The fourth link, basic and advanced emergency medical services, refers to the rapid response of highly trained and equipped EMS personnel who can respond to the patient, administer medications, and offer advanced respiration procedures and interventions as needed. This step is often dependent upon the very first link in the chain: early recognition and call for emergency assistance!

Advanced Life Support and Post Cardiac Arrest Care

The fifth and final link, Advanced Life Support and Post Cardiac Arrest Care, is best left to medical professionals. It may involve a multidisciplinary care team composed of cardiologists, physical therapists, and dieticians.

Ready to learn CPR or First Aid? AED.com and Cardio Partners is a trusted nationwide CPR training center. We offer CPR, First Aid, AED, and bloodborne pathogen training courses in all 50 states in traditional classroom settings and in blended learning courses. To learn more about our courses or to schedule a training, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com. We’d love to hear from you!

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Which Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is Right for You?

AED Buyer’s Guide: 5 Things to Consider When Choosing an AED

Why are AEDs so Important?

So you’ve decided to purchase an AED. Good for you! The statistics surrounding sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) are sobering, but your decision to buy an Automated External Defibrillator for your home or workplace may save a life. Here at Cardio Partners and AED.com, we’re ready to help you find the one that’s best for you or your organization!

Did you know that more than 350,000 Americans suffer from cardiac arrest each year? Approximately 10,000 of these occur in the workplace (OSHA) and a staggering 70% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur at home. At least 20,000 lives could be saved annually by prompt use of AEDs (American Heart Association).

In other words, if you are called on to perform CPR or to administer a shock from an AED, you’re likely working to save the life of someone you know and love. The American Heart Association (AHA) also notes that communities with AED programs, which include comprehensive CPR and AED training, have achieved survival rates of 40% or higher for cardiac arrest victims.

AEDs save lives by restoring normal heart rhythms in individuals who suffer sudden cardiac arrest.

An AED is a small, portable and user-friendly electronic device that can automatically diagnose and respond to life-threatening heart rhythms. Most AEDs provide simple, easy-to-follow audio and visual instructions that bystanders can quickly comprehend and apply. Some AEDs advise the user when to administer the shock, while other AEDs may automatically apply a shock if the heart is arrhythmic.

So what are you waiting for? Here’s everything you need to know about finding the right AED for your home or business.

1) Price

As with any technology, prices for AEDs vary widely. When considering price, think about your needs, your training, and how often and under what conditions your AED is likely to be used.

A recertified Cardiac Science Powerheart G3 comes in at a modest $595 while a new Zoll AED Pro is priced at $2895. Professionals rescuers can appreciate the Zoll’s See-Thru CPR® feature, which allows them to see a patient’s underlying cardiac rhythm during resuscitation efforts. This feature enables more consistent, interruption-free compressions.

2) Pads

When it comes to AED pads, one-size-fits-all isn’t an option. Broadly speaking, there are two types of AED pads: Adult and pediatric. Consider the population you’re most likely to use your AED on and purchase your equipment accordingly. If, for example, your AED is placed on a shop floor or in a retirement community, it’s unlikely you’ll need pediatric pads! If your AED is going to be placed in a school setting, however, you may want to consider a school AED package that includes both adult and pediatric pads.

3) Batteries

Pretty much every AED manufacturer has a unique battery that’s patented for the exclusive use in their machines. Although most AED batteries are non-rechargeable, devices with rechargeable batteries are also available. Some AEDs, like the Zoll AED Plus, even use standard consumer 123 lithium batteries!

Once again, how you plan on using your device should determine whether you select a unit with a rechargeable battery or one with a non-rechargeable battery. Bottom line: If you’re a professional who regularly uses an AED, a rechargeable battery may be right for you. CPR and AED instructors may also benefit from rechargeable training units such as the Defibtech Lifeline AED Trainer. However, If your AED is rarely used, a low-maintenance non-rechargeable battery (with a longer lifespan) may be the best bet.

Remember, a well-charged and up-to-date AED battery is essential to the proper functioning of your device! If you are purchasing an AED for your home or office, we highly recommend that you to invest in an AED Compliance Management Program.

4) IP Rating

Every AED has an IP code. This “International Protection Rating” or “Ingress Protection Rating” is a code which classifies the level of protection an electrical device (like an AED) provides against liquid and dust. If you’re shopping for a poolside AED, look for a high IP rating and consider a waterproof Pelican Case.

5) Size

If you’re planning on mounting your AED cabinet to the wall and forgetting about it until your compliance management program sends you a maintenance reminder, then size doesn’t matter. However, if your AED follows you wherever your team travels, then you’ll want to find a light and compact unit, like the Philips HeartStart OnSite AED.

For more information about purchasing a new or recertified AED or to schedule a free consultation, visit AED.com or call Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. You can also email us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

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