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A million chances to save a life
Date:2/24/2012

PHILADELPHIA -- Would you be able to find an automated external defibrillator if someone's life depended on it? Despite an estimated one million AEDs scattered around the United States, the answer, all too often when people suffer sudden cardiac arrests, is no.

In a Perspective piece published online this week in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality Outcomes, two researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania outline the tremendous potential associated with greater utilization of AEDs in public places and a method to find the devices and help more people use them during emergencies.

In cases of ventricular fibrillation a wild, disorganized cardiac rhythm that leaves the heart unable to properly pump blood through the body, which is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death quick use of an AED and CPR improve a patient's chance of surviving by more than 50 percent. But since AEDs are sold through wholesalers, manufacturers have no way to track who buys them and where they're ultimately placed. That leaves two problems: No reliable way to connect bystanders with AEDs during emergencies, and no way to locate the devices during recalls or for regular servicing and inspection, like the process used to keep fire extinguishers in working order. Without a map of the devices, the more than 300,000 people who suffer cardiac arrest remain in great peril. Nationwide, just over 6 percent of these patients survive.

Raina Merchant, MD, MS, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and co-author, David Asch, MD, MBA, executive director of Penn's Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, envision a much brighter scenario. The Penn doctors envision a massive search for the location of these one million lifesaving AEDs and the creation of an Internet and mobile app-based map to pair the devices with people willing to u
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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2313
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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