Just fifteen minutes of training could make it possible for anyone to use a defibrillator to stop sudden cardiac arrest. A study published today in the journal Critical Care shows that a brief training session is all that is needed for safe and efficient use of an automated external defibrillator.
Sudden cardiac deaths affect nearly 400,000 people per year in Europe, and every day in the U.S. more than 1,200 people die from cardiac arrest before they reach hospital. In most cases, sudden cardiac arrest is due to ventricular fibrillation, a rapid, irregular twitching of the ventricles of the heart, which can be stopped by applying a defibrillator and delivering an electric shock within 1 minute of its onset. Automated external defibrillators are becoming increasingly common in airplanes, airports, companies, schools and other public places.
Stefan Beckers and colleagues from the University Hospital in Aachen, Germany, asked over two hundred first year medical students with no prior experience to use a defibrillator on a mannequin on two occasions, with a one-week interval between the sessions. Before the second session, the students attended a 15-minute talk on the purpose of the defibrillator, why it has to be used within the first minute of the arrest, and the importance of correct electrode pad positioning. Their response times were monitored during both sessions.
Juliette Savin | EurekAlert!
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