The life saving power of AEDs

September 6, 2017

AEDs offer live saving power

Learn how you can save a life using an AED

By Dr. Harry Oken, CA’s Medical Director

When celebrity trainer and Biggest Loser star, Bob Harper, collapsed while exercising at his gym, he was fortunate that two doctors at the club were able to immediately come to his aid. Harper suffered a heart attack known as the “widow-maker,” which only has a six percent survival rate. By administering CPR and using an automatic external defibrillator (AED) while waiting for paramedics, Harper’s life was saved.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital each year. The use of AEDs during these instances is crucial. For each minute that defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced by approximately 10 percent.

You don’t need to be a doctor to use an AED — these life-saving machines can be used by anyone!

Columbia Association has AEDs at each of their three fitness facilities. Each CA team member knows the location of these AEDs, and we want to make sure you know where they are too. When visiting a CA facility, ask a team member for the location.

How to use an AED

If you witness a club member collapse, you should immediately tell a staff member and, if able, play a part in assessing and helping to support the fallen member. Our trained staff will bring the AED to the victim and initiate treatment while waiting for 911 emergency responders to arrive.  

During that time:

  1. Place electrodes on the bare chest of the person in need. These will allow the AED’s built-in computer system to assess the rhythm of the heart.
  2. Plug in the connector and tell everyone to “stand clear.” Do not touch the victim at this time or allow any others to touch the victim
  3. Follow the visual and auditory prompts.
  4. If a shock is needed, a prompt will direct you to press the shock button on the AED.

The electrical shock works by stopping all heart activity and the gives the heart the chance to resume beating properly. Studies show that 90 percent of the time an AED is used, the machine will be able to accurately detect a rhythm that should be treated with defibrillation.

September is National Preparedness Month. We’re ready — are you?

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