Responding to Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Will you be prepared if sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) strikes a co-worker, student or visitor? SCA occurs when the heart unexpectedly and abruptly quits beating. Cardiac arrest is unpredictable and can strike anyone, anywhere and at any time. The American Heart Association reports that SCA is a leading cause of death in the U.S., claiming upwards of 350,000 lives annually. Compounding that figure, less than 10 percent of the people struck by cardiac arrest survive.

However, lives can be saved if bystanders act promptly by:

  • calling 911
  • beginning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • providing defibrillation

Today’s blog will address the third point—providing defibrillation.

Automated External Defibrillators

Many Texas Tech buildings house automated external defibrillator (AED) units to help with the defibrillation process. Physical Plant personnel have begun replacing the existing AEDs on campus with Zoll AED Plus units that are equipped with new technology. The Zoll AEDs are fully automatic and user friendly.

The Zoll Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Plus Unit is equipped with new technology that is user friendly.

The Zoll Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Plus unit is equipped with new technology that is user friendly.

What does fully automatic mean? When sensors are applied and a shockable heart rhythm is detected, the machine will deliver the shock on its own, without the assistance of the rescuer. There is no need to push a button to deliver the shock. The machine will do it for you.

In order to learn more about how to use the AED Plus machine, you can watch this training video, which will walk you step by step through the process. The video is also located on the EH&S website.

AEDs on Campus

The new AEDs, which are bright green, will be placed in the same locations as the existing defibrillators. All TTU personnel should be familiar with the location of AEDs in their areas.

Always remember that first-responders are key when it comes to surviving SCA. The American Heart Association has found that communities with higher bystander CPR participation have higher SCA survival rates, and having an immediate bystander administering CPR doubles or triples the chance of survival.

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