Thursday, August 30, 2007

AED's in Schools

From the Dr. Wes blog

Just in time for the back-to-school season comes this report on the epidemiology of cardiac arrest in our schools.

The report adds much to our knowledge of the epidemiology of sudden death in schools from two large counties near Seattle, WA, USA. Of 3773 episodes of cardiac arrest in a public domain over 16 years, 97 arrests occurred in 671 schools but only 12 of these occurred in children.

The incidence of sudden death among (adult) school staff was 25-fold greater than that among students. Given the additional contribution of other adults not employed by the school, greater than 90% of cardiac arrests in schools occurred among adults. The finding supports the assertion that school-based CPR and AED programs would benefit faculty and staff members, as well as visitors to the school who, because of their age, are at greater risk of cardiac arrest than the students.

These data, in my view, make a compelling case for the wide availability of public access defibrillation. It is survival to discharge from a hospital that matters, and there is nothing that will improve survival in that setting better than a beating heart. The chest thumping of CPR, while helpful temporarily, only mildly improves the chance of survival following cardiac arrest until the coordinated contraction of the heart can be restored with defibrillation.


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