SC State University Makes Conquering Sudden Cardiac Arrests a Top Priority

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

CardiacSC State University recently added 19 new ZOLL AED (AED’s) Plus automated external defibrillators to the six that are already placed on campus. The defibrillators were added in an effort to increase the odds of surviving sudden cardiac arrests (SCA). SC State University announces that it has enhanced SCA equipment in Felton Laboratory, Dukes Gymnasium, Brooks Health Center, the Athletics Department and the Campus Police Office.  In addition, AED’s will be placed in all residential halls. AED’s are used by first responders such as police, flight attendants and athletic coaches to treat victims of SCA.


“SCA strikes people of all ages and fitness levels, usually without warning,” said Pinkey Carter, director of SC State’s Brooks Health Center. “Implementing an AED program at our University can help us protect the lives of our students, faculty, staff and community members. With these new defibrillators, we are better prepared to deal with sudden cardiac arrests,” she continued.


There are more than 330,000 deaths each year from cardiac arrests in the United States.  Estimates say that more than half of these deaths occur suddenly. Currently, only about five percent of victims survive and 95 percent will die from SCA. SCA strikes without warning and can kill its victims within minutes. The American Heart Association estimates that focusing on a strong chain of survival such as early access to care, early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), early defibrillation and early advanced medical care, can increase survival rates to 20 percent or more, and could save at least 40,000 lives each year.


SCA is an abrupt disruption of the heart’s function causing a lack of blood flow to the vital organs which results in the loss of blood pressure, pulse and consciousness. In nearly half of all victims, SCA is caused by the abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation occurs when the nerves in the heart malfunction, causing the left ventricle, which is the heart’s main pumping chamber, to quiver or “fibrillate.” Stricken with this chaotic rhythm, the heart cannot effectively pump oxygenated blood to the brain and other vital organs throughout the body.


About half of all victims who suddenly collapse initially require defibrillation. For other victims, however, who may have non-shockable heart rhythms, the critical action for survival is effective CPR. AED’s enable first responders to provide lifesaving therapy in the critical minutes before the ambulance arrives. The ZOLL AED Plus requires minimal training to operate. The ability to analyze the heart’s electrical function is programmed into the AED’s, and voice and text prompts guide rescuers through the appropriate CPR and defibrillation steps as necessary.


The AED Plus, manufactured by ZOLL Medical Corporation of Chelmsford, Mass., is the only AED that allows rescuers to see and hear how well they are performing the rate and depth of chest compressions during CPR. This real-time feedback mechanism, known as Real CPR Help, makes it the only full rescue AED available today. ZOLL AED Plus is also the only AED with a one-piece electrode pad for easier positioning on the victim’s body, versus the traditional pads which can be challenging to place properly. The AED Plus runs on consumer batteries that are easy to replace and lasts at least five years in stand-by mode.


“We are consistently seeking ways to readily assist the needs of our student, staff, faculty and visitors of the University,” said Carter.  “Our goal is to get defibrillators in all buildings.”


For more information about the ZOLL AED Plus, or if you would like to make a donation to place more AED’s on SC State University’s campus, contact Pinkey Carter at (803) 536-7055, or visit www.americanheart.org.