Monday, July 26, 2010

ABC demonstrates defibrillator use for everyone

This morning, Monday, July 26, ABC Good Morning America with Dr. Richard Besser, in the “How to save a life” series, demonstrated the use of a defibrillator for sudden cardiac arrest. Defibrillators have become commonplace in public places like shopping malls, airline terminals and even public schools.

MSNBC has a similar story from July 19 here.

Zoll has a site of Automatic External Defibrillator Training here (with many videos requiring Real Player, Media Player or QuickTime) and emphasizes that chest-compression CPR may be necessary even after the defibrillator works. The Pilot episode of “Smallville” in 2001 had the young Clark demonstrating CPR as it was taught then (on Lex), but recommendations may have changed since then.

One of my screenplays, “The Sub”, has an early sequence where a student saves a substitute teacher’s life with an AED. Although my website caused a considerable ruckus for other reasons, the Fairfax County School System the following year placed AED’s in schools and posted a training video where a male teen student was the “subject”.

In elderly people, anecdotally, sudden cardiac arrest may be more common in men than women, possibly because men do not seek treatment as soon for coronary artery disease, or possibly because of physiology, which seems to protect some elderly women from sudden death.

For patients with DNR orders, however, defibrillator use may not be appropriate.

Wikipedia attribution link for AED picture.

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