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Philips Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Its First Public Access AED

Print Article Contributed by FSM Staff

AMSTERDAM -- Royal Philips announced the 20th anniversary and 1.5 millionth sale of its HeartStart line of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), the first AED designed for the layperson.

With these milestones, the company is launching a campaign aimed at raising awareness around the prevalence of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), with the goal of educating people about using AEDs and how they can lead the way to save a life. Despite the widespread availability of AEDs today, people are not always aware of AEDs, don't know how easy they are to use, and may still hesitate to intervene when someone is experiencing a SCA. Philips aims to showcase the ease of use and importance of AEDs, and empower laypeople to take action to help save a life.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death and a major health problem in Europe and the U.S. Approximately 420,000 people experience EMS-assessed out-of-hospital non-traumatic SCA each year in the U.S. and 275,000 in Europe [1,2]. When bystanders intervene by giving CPR and using AEDs, however, 4 out of 10 victims survive [3]. CPR may extend a victim's life temporarily, but it alone cannot save the majority of SCA victims. Through this campaign, Philips is engaging with medical experts and survivors of cardiac arrest to move past one of the biggest barriers today: giving the average person the confidence to use an AED in an emergency.

"Today's AEDs couldn't be easier to use – you open the box and the device talks you through the steps – yet, despite this, people are still hesitant to intervene when they witness someone experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest episode," said Dr. Joe Frassica, chief medical and innovation officer, Philips and chief science officer, Philips Research North America. "We need to ensure that people know what AEDs are, how to use them and understand that they can, in fact, be used by anyone. Those moments between someone's heart stopping and when the emergency responders get to the scene are crucial. For every additional person equipped with the knowledge and confidence to intervene with an AED, there is potential for another life saved."

The reality about sudden cardiac arrest is it can happen to anyone, anywhere at any time [4]. While SCA is most common in people over 40 years old, 9,500 cases of SCA happen to children under the age of 18 [5]. Many bystanders mistakenly believe it is best to wait for professional help to arrive to the scene of a SCA. For the best chance of survival, an AED should be used within three to five minutes after collapse [6]. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, an SCA victim's chance of survival decreases by 7 percent to 10 percent [7]. After 10 minutes, very few SCA victims survive [8]. However, being able to provide immediate treatment is crucial, as only 10.6 percent of SCA victims survive [9]. On average, EMS teams in the U.S. take 6 to 12 minutes to arrive on the scene of a SCA [10]. With bystander intervention and treatment with an AED, the survival percentage triples to 31.4 percent [11].

"Over eight years ago, I was sitting at lunch discussing senior prom plans with friends when I suddenly went unconscious, fell out of my seat and began to convulse," said Lindsay Hayden, a survivor of cardiac arrest. "I was having a sudden cardiac arrest. I was just 17 at the time. A classmate and close friend had died of cardiac arrest just a year and a half prior to my episode, and his parents placed an AED in my school in his memory. That same AED helped save my life. Without the help of a classmate and the use of the AED, I believe I wouldn't be here today. Sudden cardiac arrest doesn't discriminate and it really can happen to anyone. I was lucky that my classmate recognized that I was having a cardiac arrest, was trained in CPR, and knew what an AED was. But luck shouldn't be a vital component to survival."


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