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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart stops beating and without immediate assistance, the person will ultimately die where they fell. SCA is far different than a person experiencing a heart attack. A person suffering a heart attack may have chest pain, trouble breathing, and become nauseated and sweaty. If these symptoms are recognized quickly and the person is treated in a hospital, statistics show that 90% of heart attack victims will survive. The survival rate of Sudden Cardiac Arrest is around 10 percent.

The American Heart Association Journal (“Circulation”) published a recent article stating researchers found that nearly 66 percent of victims that suffered an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survived to hospital discharge when a bystander used a publicly available Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The study also stated that Cardiac arrest victims who received a shock from a publicly available AED had far greater chances of survival and being discharged from the hospital than those who did not; 66.5 percent versus 43 percent.

Studies also show that the combination of immediate CPR and use of an AED can double and, in some cases, even triple chances of survival after a sudden cardiac arrest.

According to OSHA, there are about 10,000 cardiac arrests in the workplace each year in the United States.

A survey commissioned by the American Heart Association concluded that more than half (55 percent) of American workers cannot get First-Aid, CPR and AED training through their employer and even if employers do offer this training, it is often either one or the other. The survey further stated that half of all U.S. workers (50 percent) cannot locate the AED at work. In the hospitality industry, that number rises to two-thirds (66 percent).

A second survey was deployed to a group of “more than 1,000 safety managers in industries regulated by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA),” which revealed that one-third (33 percent) of safety managers said lives have been saved at home and at the workplace as a result of First-Aid, CPR and AED training provided at work – and three-quarters (75 percent) said injuries or medical conditions have been treated in the workplace with this training. That knowledge would go a long way towards positively impacting the 10,000 SCA incidents that occur in the workplace each year.  

“First-Aid, CPR and AED training needs to become part of a larger culture of safety within workplaces,” said Michael Kurz, MD, chair of the American Heart Association’s Systems of Care Subcommittee.

Does your company offer First-Aid, CPR and AED training to its employees? If not, EI can help! Contact John Barrett, EMT-P at (704) 593-1640 or jbarrett@ei1.com to schedule an on-site course.