Defibrillators Ensure Preparedness For Incidents of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Campus Safety

Defibrillators Ensure Preparedness For Incidents of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

With nine automated external defibrillators (AEDs), Dowling College is prepared to respond to incidents of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) – among the leading causes of death in the United States.

When a lethal heart rhythm is detected, the AED, via two adhesive-backed pads attached to the patient’s chest, discharges electricity through the heart to restore a normal beat. More than 300,000 Americans die each year of cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart suddenly ceases to pump in an organized way, stopping blood circulation. Although SCA can strike anyone, risk increases with age; the average victim is 65. SCA accounts for 75% of all workplace deaths. Unless victims are quickly revived by an electrical shock to the heart, they soon die or suffer irreversible brain damage. For each minute that passes before a defibrillator shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm, the chance of surviving drops 10%.

Seven AEDs have been purchased for use by the Dowling College Athletic Department. Coaches of all sports teams are required to bring the devices with them to each practice and game. The Security Office manages two AEDs, with one available on both the Oakdale and Brookhaven campuses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

AEDs are employed in addition to CPR in necessary circumstances, i.e. when a person is found to be unresponsive, is not breathing, and has no pulse. The AEDs have an advanced safety feature – they will not charge unless a dangerous irregular heart rhythm is detected. This prevents inappropriate use. The devices also feature voice commands and screen messages that help guide the user through the defibrillation process. It can record, store, and transmit vital data on any event. Weighing less than seven pounds, the units are easily portable.