You- Yes YOU Can Save a Life by Using an AED

This week Sound Family Medicine purchased a replacement AED (automated external defibrillator) for my clinic. I underwent a training session for use with the new device. It took about 1 minute. Open the container. Apply the pads. Turn on the machine. If it says to shock the patient make sure no one is touching the patient and push the button to deliver the shock. There are some details, primarily that you need to assure the patient is not breathing and does not have a heart beat, should first call 911, and if possible also start chest-compression CPR, but really it is about that simple. These devices are designed to be used by lay persons. Everyone should become comfortable knowing that they can save a life with these simple AEDs if they witness a cardiac arrest.

The primary determinant of survival of a cardiac arrest is how long it takes to apply effective electrical defibrillation. CPR is helpful, but is really designed to buy time until defibrillation can be accomplished. The real solution is to get an effective heartbeat restarted. Many people have cardiac arrest with a “shockable rhythm” who are not within the limited few minutes available of trained EMT responders. Some of these persons can be saved by people like you if you just use an available AED. Don’t be intimidated. They are nearly fool-proof and you can use them confidently if you believe you can.

Here are some facts that may help encourage you to use an AED if you witness a cardiac arrest and an AED is available:

• There are about 360,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually in the US.
• Less than 10% of these sudden cardiac arrest victims survive.
• Communities with programs for CPR and AED training and availability have has up to nearly 40% survival rates.
• Nearly 64% of Americans have never even seen an AED. You don’t need to be part of this majority.

I encourage all readers to become confident that they can use an AED if the situation comes up. For those who feel the are near someone at very high risk you may consider purchasing an AED to have in the home. Ask your physician if this is reasonable. Here is a video on how to use an AED that I think can allow you to have the confidence to take action if needed. If you have additional concerns you can find a course on CPR/AED use at the American Heart Association Page.

f you have watched the 4 minute video you should feel confident that you now can save a life using an AED.

Bill Maher’s Illogical Thoughts on Vaccinations

I’m visiting my mother-in-law and so Friday night we watched Real Time with Bill Maher and I enjoyed watching satire of the news from the left side.  I recently visited my Dad and endured Fox Network’s Justice w/Judge Jeanine so Maher seemed like a Rhode’s Scholar in comparison to Ms. Pirro.  Much of what Mr. Maher…

Should Getting Old Be an Indication for Statin Therapy

I’ve been skeptical of the most recent American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommendations for statin use for prevention of coronary heart disease and stroke since they were released in Nov. 2013. Using the new calculator age over 60 for men or 70 for women, even with near prefect values for other risk…

Access to Healthcare: The US Income Disparity

In the U.S. our method of rationing healthcare is that if you have good insurance or lots of money you have access to good healthcare otherwise you don’t have access to good healthcare. I believe this is far more reality than the widespread U.S. perception that health care is rationed in countries with government funded universal healthcare.  A…

Why Wait Until 60 for your Shingles Vaccine?

In 2011 Merck received FDA approval to administer Zostavax (Herpes Zoster/ shingles vaccine) in patients age 50-59.  Since 2006 Zostavax has been approved for patients age 60 and older.  So why should you wait until 60 to get shingles vaccine? I wondered this and on reading the ACIP update on Zoster Immunization released this August…

Pneumonia Vaccination Is More Complex but Better Than Ever

In my 30+ years as a family physician I’ve seen first hand the effects of a relatively new type of vaccines called conjugate polysaccharide vaccinations. In the 1980’s nearly every year I had one or more young children in the hospital with meningitis due to either Hemophyllus influenza B or Streptococcus pneumoniae.  Now there are…