Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) often happens without warning, and when it does, it is often devastating. Anyone can go into cardiac arrest anytime, anywhere. PCS can affect anyone, regardless of age, race or gender; PCS can affect both children and the elderly.
The plain and simple truth is that almost six million people in the world suffer from SCP every year. With a survival rate of less than five percent, PCS causes more deaths than breast cancer, lung cancer, AIDS, and stroke combined. Typically, PCS happens suddenly and without warning, and 84 percent of PCS episodes happen outside of healthcare facilities.
In the case of a PCS, response time is critical. A study by the American Heart Association shows that for every minute the defibrillation process is delayed, the victim’s chances of survival decrease by seven to ten percent. After 10 minutes, the survival rate is zero. Taking into account that the response time of ambulances is generally more than 10 minutes, the best option for survival is in the hands of the people present.
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can be used by the untrained to improve the chances of surviving a SCP by up to 75% by delivering a life-saving shock for the first few minutes after arrest. These portable devices can sometimes be found in public places such as shopping malls, golf courses, businesses, airports, casinos, convention centers, hotels, sports facilities, and schools. However, AEDs are not yet available everywhere.