Highest Number of Devices on Any UC Campus, Used to Revive Cardiac Arrest Victims
Irvine, Calif. July 29, 2002 -- Easy-to-use defibrillators are now available on the UC Irvine campus to help "shock" back to life people whose hearts have stopped.
The university has installed 11 laptop computer-sized units, the largest number on any UC campus.
The defibrillators, which are used to restart hearts in victims of sudden cardiac arrest, will be in the five UCI police cruisers, the Student Health Center, the Anteater Recreation Center, Bren Events Center and the Crawford Hall athletic facility. College of Medicine faculty physicians at UCI Medical Center will provide medical oversight of the machines and help provide training for UCI employees and students.
"Historically, defibrillators were manual and too complicated to be used by anyone but a trained medical professional," said Dr. Alpesh Amin, associate professor of medicine and medical director of the automatic external defibrillation program. "This new generation of automated machines is easy to use and can truly--and safely--save lives in a matter of minutes."
Sudden cardiac arrest kills someone in the United States every minute, according to the American Heart Association. Cardiac arrest is caused by various forms of heart disease. This disease can lead to abnormal, chaotic and rapid heart rhythms known as fibrillation; these abnormal rhythms halt blood flow to the heart, causing it to stop beating. A defibrillator can detect the abnormal rhythm and "shock" the heart into beating correctly.
Most Americans who suffer sudden cardiac arrest die, because defibrillators arrive too late on the scene, if they arrive at all. In addition, up to half of those who survived sudden cardiac arrest will suffer another episode within one year. But most cases of cardiac arrest are reversible if treated within minutes.
UCI, coordinating with the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association, will provide training to employees on the defibrillators' use.
"The defibrillators provide onscreen instructions for the rescuer, so they can follow step-by-step," said Ruth Bundy, occupational health manager at UCI's Environmental Health and Safety Office. "Just as important, the machines automatically search for abnormal heart rhythms in the patient. If it doesn't find any, the defibrillator won't deliver a shock. They also won't accidentally shock the rescuer."
Automated defibrillators are becoming more prevalent in public places including sports arenas, airports, office buildings and shopping malls. They are currently used by police, firefighters, security officers, athletic trainers, flight attendants and lifeguards, in addition to medical personnel.
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