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Tuesday, 22 January

Defibrillators - A Matter Of Life And Death Through Gilmore's Eyes

Two versions of defibrillators

What do you offer to your customers? What about medical devices that can mean the difference between someone dying or surviving? asks Mark Gilmore

According to an article published by the Mirror, around 200,000 hospital visits in Britain are due to heart attacks and if a defibrillator is used within the first three to five minutes of a person collapsing, their survival chances increase from six to 74 per cent.

However, there are many myths surrounding defibrillators, such as what businesses need them and who should operate them.

Mark Gilmore, MD at Aero Healthcare, picks up the story of the importance of defibrillators for the facilities management sector - and how they can mean the difference between someone surviving or dying.

 

Mark Gilmore

Every year more than seven million people globally suffer from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) with no warning. And only five to 10 percent survive.

In addition, 84 percent of SCA events occur outside of a healthcare setting - meaning they happen in public areas and in work environments.

So what can you do to ensure your workplace is fully equipped to deal with someone that is struck by an SCA?

 

Sudden Cardiac Arrest - what you need to know

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is when the heart enters a chaotic rhythm. It usually results from a disturbance in your heart that disrupts its pumping action, stopping the blood flow to the rest of your body.

And, it’s a medical emergency that if not treated immediately, can cause Sudden Cardiac Death.

The symptoms of an SCA are immediate and include:

  • Sudden collapse.

  • No pulse.

  • No breathing.

  • Loss of consciousness

In addition, it’s useful to bear in mind that high blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking, being male and ageing can increase the likelihood of an SCA occurring.

 

So, what more can I do to keep workers safe?

Five per cent of all Sudden Cardiac Arrests will occur in the workplace, affecting 100 people in the UK every week.

There is no UK legislation that obliges businesses or premises to have a defibrillator, but under English law, failing to take appropriate safety precautions on your site could be construed as negligence.

In short, defibrillators should be available in every location, given the unpredictability and severity of SCA.

 

The power of defibrillation

In the case of an SCA, the first thing you should do is alert the emergency services, as it is a medical emergency that can lead to death.

However, the average response time for emergency services is around eight to 10 minutes and every minute that passes without defibrillation reduces survival rate by seven to 10 per cent, so having an accessible Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can determine whether the sufferer survives or dies.

Whilst the importance of defibrillation is widely recognised, the way they are used and maintained isn’t.

 

Invest in team training

Contrary to popular belief, defibrillators can be used by everyone - not just a healthcare professional.

And today, many devices feature clear, simple voice and visual prompts, which guide users on what to do.

In addition, it’s useful to ensure your team members are confident handling and operating the devices - so when you procure a defibrillator see if the supplier offers training options.

 

Expiration dates

The batteries and pads in your defibrillator are the key functions that send the shock to the SCA sufferer.

Both the pads and batteries will have expiration dates, so it’s essential that you keep an eye on when they’ll need replacing. And, pads are single-use, so if they are used in an event of an SCA - they will need to be replaced.

So, to have complete confidence that your workforce is protected in the worse case scenario it’s crucial to have a defibrillator in an accessible location as it could help save a life.

Picture: Two versions of defibrillators that could save someone's life.

 

Article written by Mark Gilmore

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