How to prevent sudden cardiac arrest

There may be a way to stave off what is almost always a fatal condition. Patients with faulty hearts may have a four-week window to avert death, according to new research.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), in which the heart abruptly stops beating (as opposed to the circulation blockage of a heart attack), was previously thought to happen unexpectedly, without any warning.

But in fact, many victims of these sudden stoppages may ignore the symptoms, a study published on Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine found.

“There’s this window of opportunity that we really didn’t know existed,” lead author Dr Sumeet Chugh said in a statement.

Defibrillators to be rolled out at all Blacktown sporting fields

DEFIBRILLATORS for up to 30,000 athletes will be rolled out across sporting grounds after a $252,000 allocation. Blacktown will be the first council to have defibrillators at all its sports grounds.

During a cardiac arrest, defibrillators work by applying high voltage (between 200 to 1000 volts) to send an electric current through the heart to shock it into beating normally again. Elite young athletes are most vulnerable to cardiac arrests. The Heart Foundation said every passing minute without intervention reduced the rate of survival by 10 per cent. The defibrillators are expected to be rolled out by September.

Help was just a heartbeat away when Tony Collins collapsed at Florida Beach Bar

Tony Collins, (second from left), with his daughter Kelly Drover, Chris Beath, Florida Beach Bar manager and Diandra Jones, duty manager, at Crowne Plaza, Terrigal. Tony suffered a heart attack but was saved by Chris and Diandra, using their defibrillator on site.

AS UNLIKELY as it may seem when Tony Collins went into sudden cardiac arrest, short of an emergency department, the pub was the safest place he could have been­.

The otherwise fit and healthy 65-year-old was unwinding with a few beers at the Florida Beach Bar at Terrigal on April 14 when he collapsed about 5pm.

It just so happened Berkeley Vale Private Hospital’s director of nursing Marilyn Clayton was getting her hair done just metres away at The Society for Hair and came rushing out still draped in a cape.

Bar manager Chris Beath also came to Mr Collins’ aid with a defibrillator – one of the few pubs on the Coast with such a device.

“It was on the third shock I started breathing again,” Mr Collins said.

“Without the defibrillator I was gone. The pub (was) the only place I would have been safe, 100 per cent right place at the right time. If I had been driving and gone into cardiac arrest I could have killed someone.”

Dispelling the MYTHS!

Often the best inspiration comes from your customers. Well the past 10 days Defib has been out and about in the market place – Auckland, Adelaide, Melbourne and Wagga! That’s a few miles to cover, but its all been with the aim of continuing the education of the community of the necessity of having a defibrillator in their communities.

We have been asked some great questions; we have been able to dispel a number of myths and importantly the Defib team has been able to place a number of new defibrillators in a variety of communities.

So instead of keeping that data to ourselves, or waiting for the next marketing newsletter to come out, we thought we would share a few with you.

Do you have to be trained to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED)?

No, anyone can use it. At Defib For Life as part of our package we include a training session with all of our units to ensure that people are comfortable on how to use the AED in case of emergency and to encourage any questions.

If one of our players has SCA on the field and it’s raining, do we need to pull them out of the rain?

When faced with an emergency situation, it’s best to follow your first aid training in regards to ensuring that a victim is safe in their surroundings and you protect them, their necks and spine. In regards to using a defibrillator, the Defib for Life recommended units are resistant to moisture and dust, so taking them out of a controlled environment to the sporting field or the school playground is perfectly safe. We would recommend the patient be moved should they be lying in a pool of water, being mindful of other injuries.

Not all AED units offer this, so be mindful when selecting an AED.