Posted by Bob Trenkamp on 05/22/2012

The wide range of survival rates for out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest victims demonstrates that some folks are doing the right things and some folks are not.

If you live in a house with one or more other people, their lives may well depend upon how practiced you are at responding to their sudden cardiac arrest. (I can hear some of you saying "Yeah. Sure. And what are the odds of that.?" Actually, each of us has a nigher-than-ten percent chance of seeing a family member, friend, or associate drop dead in front of our eyes. Also, keep in mind that 66% of all out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur in the home.)

So let's all get ready by practicing!

Everybody in the household needs to know how to recognize when someone has arrested. (They suddenly become non-responsive and they either stop breathing or they stop breathing normally. Not breathing normally can mean the longest darn exhale you've ever heard or just an occasional gasp.)

Everybody in the household needs to know where your home AED is kept and how to use it. (Using it involves a really quick grab the cell phone or portable phone, dial 911, head for the door to unlock it, grab the AED, and return to the victim - in no more that 40 seconds. (and I can hear you saying "We don't have an AED at home.)

Seriously? You have a higher chance of needing an AED at home than a fighter pilot has of ever needing his parachute. Why do you think the survival rate for SCA in the home isin the 2-4% range? (That's 2% for all arrests, 4% for witnessed arrests - but that's likely skewed by the high probability that a large number of the un-witnessed arrests were really witnessed arrests - the witness just didn't know what he or she was seeing.) Seriously, folks, if we're going to make a dent in the terrible death and disability rate that we see year after year, we need to attack the problem where it is most prevalent (the home) with the right equipment (AED, cell phone or portable phone), and with the right training (Bystander CPR & AED use).AND we need to practice!

Please think about what you're doing to your spouse if you don't get trained and get an AED in the home.