Post by Nathan Stephens

As sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating have become more popular, it should not come as a surprise that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Canada. There are various kinds of heart disease. Sudden cardiac arrest happens when the heart simply stops beating. Half of the time, sudden cardiac arrest occurs outside of any medical facility. Early defibrillation is the most significant factor determining if a victim will survive this critical time.


AEDs or automated external defibrillators detect when the heart is experiencing one of two kinds of deadly rhythms—ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. When an AED registers these rhythms through one of the two electrode pads placed on the victim’s chest, it instructs the operator to administer a shock to the victim’s heart, interrupting the deadly rhythms and hopefully prompting the heart to resume beating at a normal pace.

According to twenty years of research in the Niagara area, a victim of cardiac arrest has only a 10 minute window of survival, and the use of an AED must be followed with proper CPR and a 911 call for follow-up. Realizing how important AED equipment can be, the family of Lucien Antonio Gravestock provided three AED donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, who distributed these devices to major community locations in the Thorald area. The Heart and Stroke Foundation will also train residents to properly operate AEDs. Because cardiac arrest can happen anywhere and anytime, AEDs are increasingly found in arenas, schools, clubs, malls, churches—any space used for frequent public gatherings.

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