Essential facts you should know about AEDs and the elderly
A 1994 study titled “The Pre-Hospital Arrest Survival Evaluation” revealed a frightening reality: Of 2,329 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, only 26 patients survived. Twenty-one years later, in 2015, the American Heart Association (AHA) asserted that over 326,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospitals every year – a majority while the victims were in their home.
Fortunately, modern medicine has a lifesaving answer to this stubbornly persistent threat: The automated electronic defibrillator (AED). In 2002, the FDA approved the first home AED unit, the Philips HeartStart, and two years later the prescription requirement was dropped.
The American Red Cross states that, “improved training and access to AEDs could save 50,000 lives each year.” Because AEDs extend similar advantages to the elderly as they do younger patients, more and more homeowners and assisted care residents are considering purchasing a unit.
3 details all senior citizens should know about AEDs
Help’s required. The “automated” aspect of AEDs refers to the machine’s ability to calibrate the electrical output based on the heart’s fibrillation, a spasm caused by uncoordinated muscle fibers. Victims of sudden cardiac arrest won’t be able to administer AED treatment on themselves. While laws vary from state to state, American Heart Association approved AED and CPR training is highly recommended. Because of this, the capabilities of a person’s living partner or caregiver need to be identified before purchasing an AED, especially in the home.
The medical world believes in AEDs. A report published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggested that, “the most optimistic view is that 84% of public access defibrillation cardiac arrest victims … were found in VF (ventricular fibrillation/cardiac arrest), 29% of those aged 70 and older and in VF have been shown to survive to discharge.” While those stats may seem discouraging to those outside of medicine, cardiologists see this as a huge improvement, especially since only 10% of all individuals who suffer sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting typically survive. The report goes on to state, “To the extent that cardiac resuscitation is offered to any patient, it should at least be considered for the average geriatric patient.”
DNRs need to be identified. The same Journal of Geriatrics Society paper advised that, “the geriatric
population is likely to contain a good number of individuals who have no interest in resuscitation.” While most assisted living residents will have already reported their do not resuscitate (DNR) status upon move-in, the introduction of AEDs to such residencies can lead to concerns about those wishes being identified before an AED is administered.
AED and CPR training can be an excellent way of learning if and how purchasing an in-home AED is the right decision for you or your loved ones, and give you the confidence to use it in an emergency situation.
If you’re considering purchasing an AED unit for your home or facility, we encourage you to connect with One Beat CPR + AED, Florida’s premiere AHA and American Safety Health Institute (ASHI) CPR training center and AED distributor. Our certified experts can help identify the best training program and AED for you, your family, or your employees. Contact us today.