Bob Trenkamp's blog

Bob Trenkamp's blog

YOU do the math...

[If you have an AED at home, you can skip this.]

The monthly total cost of ownership for an AED is on the range of $20-$30 over ten years, depending upon the model and how well you shop.

Two thirds of all cardiac arrests in the U.S.A. occur in the home.

Your odds of seeing a family member, friend, or acquaintance die of an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest is 10% during your lifetime.

Your spouse has the same odds of seeing an arrest as you do. (That wasn't meant to be subtle.)

If you arrest and someone calls 911, starts CPR, and defibrillates you, your odds of getting out of the hospital with major brain function intact go way up. (The Phoenix airport averages 75% saves. The national average is less than 10%.)

And you can't find a dollar a day to greatly reduce your odds of a premature death or a terrible disability?

Just what ARE the odds?

Well, it depends...

Was your arrest witnessed?
If there's nobody else around when you have your cardiac arrest - or if there is someone else around and they don't notice that you have died - you have a 3.9% chance of getting out of the hospital with your major brain functions intact. How often does this happen? More than half of all out-of-hospital ("OOH") arrests are unwitnessed.

If a bystander saw you arrest, you have 15.2% chance of survival with brain intact - that's nearly four-times better odds. The moral of this factoid is that you need to always have someone around, and that person needs to know how to tell if you've just arrested. More than one-third of all OOH arrests are witnessed by a bystander.

improving the odds.

My family all know what to do when they witness a sudden cardiac arrest: if the victim is non-responsive and not breathing normally, they call 911, they get the victim on a hard, flat surface with the head tilted back, and they begin compressing the chest at least two inches deep at a rate between 100 and 120 compressions per minute, and they defibrillate the victim promptly if there is an AED available and immediately resume compressions. If there is no AED available, they don't stop compressions until someone else takes over.

But there's a problem with this: if they perform chest compressions the way they would be taught in an AHA or ARC or just about any other course, they won't be able to sustain the target compression rate and depth until the ambulance gets there. Most people cannot provide adequate chest compressions for three minutes. The longest I've seen is an Army Ranger Medic who lasted a little more than nine minutes.

It's time to re-think CPR.

I believe that if the BLS curriculum were changed to teach what current resuscitation science teaches, many tens of thousand more people in North America would survive cardiac arrests than currently do. ("Survive" means "Get discharged from the hospital with major brain functions intact - i.e., with a CPC score of 1 or 2.")

Very few people perform CPR properly: the rate is too slow, the interruptions are too frequent and too long, and the compression depth is too shallow. There are ways to increase significantly the length of time that an average person can perform CPR correctly.

The CARES data shows us that two-thirds of all out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur in the home. Survival data shows that two percent of OOHSCA's occurring in the home have a survival outcome.

The Pheonix, AZ Airport has averaged a 75% survival rate for ten years.

Perhaps it's time to re-think what we take on faith as being the solution to the problem.


Follow the link, PLEASE!

This is really important. Immediate CPR works, Prompt Defibrillation yields even higher survival rates.

Defibrillators saving lives at suburban schools

By Kimberly Pohl
An animated Rich Keller recently stood at third base on a beautiful spring afternoon, his hands delivering a series of signals that let his batter know she should lay down a bunt.

No one would ever guess that Schaumburg High School’s freshman softball coach had collapsed — just one month earlier — at that very spot on the team’s home field.

“The girls thought I was just messing around, laying on the ground trying to sun myself or something,” Keller, 63, recalled. “Turns out, I was in trouble.”

And a nearby automatic external defibrillator saved him.

From a referee who collapsed 18 months ago at a Round Lake High School basketball game to a Glenbard South High School cross country coach who slumped over after speaking at a 2001 pep rally for his state champion team, several suburban residents have benefited from AEDs at schools.

Will someone please tell me why we're still not teaching CPR to every high school student every year?

Miramonte sophomore Dylan Watson put recent CPR skills learned in his PE class to work Thursday, May 10 when he came upon a fallen man on the walking trail at the Lafayette Reservoir.

Orinda resident Maria Rowland and her husband, Dennis, rushed to the side of an elderly man after he fell off a bench, landing facedown.

Watson ran up moments later, helped turn the man over, and after making an assessment immediately began chest compressions as Rowland called 911.

"I was so wowed by Dylan's presence," said Maria Rowland. "It was truly an emergency situation and he was present, attentive and conscientious. He was truly like a hero." Rowland said the high school student performed CPR on the gentleman for approximately seven minutes until the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) arrived.

Paramedics shocked the man's heart three times and administered medication to get the heart beating again.

Lack of something else to do is not why athletes practice.

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.)

It works, folks, You need to have an AED nearby. My wife and I have one at home and travel with it.

Retired firefighters use AED to save golfer
By GEORGIA ZERMENO, Reporter, The Friday Flyer

"It was about 4:15 or 4:30 p.m.," says Liz Hefferon. "I was picking my husband up after he completed a game of golf, and we went into the clubhouse for a drink – that's when it happened."

A moment that changed some lives, a moment that saved another's life.

According to Golf Course employee Ian Nelson, he was working the desk when someone opened the door and yelled, "Call 911, we have someone down on the 18th hole!"

Ian immediately called 911 and gave them the location, had someone watch the desk and headed out to see how he could help.

Ian says what he witnessed was amazing. "They were doing CPR, then they did the defibrillator. The guy was blue, lifeless, and then suddenly he took a gasp of air. They saved his life."

Minnesota nailed it.

Vermont already has their law in place, and New York is considering the issue again.

Inch-by-inch we'll get there.

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