Category: Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)

Individuals are the Numerator with SCA Saves

Anne Kelly’s piece, Odds of Surviving Cardiac Arrest Unchanged (KFYR-TV 12/9/09), accentuates disturbing and, perhaps, counter-productive figures related to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Kelly cites national Sudden Cardiac Arrest survival rates and stubborn statistical data that industry insiders see time and time again – Out-of-hospital survival rates are less than 5%, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Correctly, Kelly correlates this “stagnant” data to poor and/or inadequate training, even in the face in increased awareness and deployment of life-saving Automated External Defibrillators (AED Units).

Kelly fails to mention, however, that “minor” adjustments to a numerator in any equation wherein the denominator is large, will provide a similar quotient to that which was previously calculated. That is, since SCA kills approximately 350,000 people each year (a HUGE denominator) and only 5% are saved (17,500; a SMALL numerator, relative to the denominator) to see a one-percent adjustment in survival rates, 3,500 new lives must be saved! When stepping away from the long-division and humanizing the math, 3,500 people becomes a meaningful number of lives. For reference, UNICEF reports that child abuse leads to 3,500 child deaths each year.

For arguments sake, let us assume that we’re rounding to the hundreds place – after all, these are just numbers, right? Saving an additional 1,749 lives would result in just under a 0.5% increase to national survival rates, yielding a new quotient of …. 5%!!! (17,500 + 1,749 = 19,249 / 350,000 = 5%) Therefore, when we look at a societal problem such as SCA, far-and-away America’s greatest killer and one that is preventable in most cases (studies indicate with early defibrillation survival rates can exceed 70%), we mustn’t be concerned with national averages unless we’re also prepared to weigh the humanistic reality of the numbers – the numerator. Regularly speaking with SCA Survivors gives me strong reason to believe that they’d like to be counted as more than 0.00028% or a part of the Numerator in a division problem. So I ask, are the daily SCA saves meaningful and are AED units and wide-spread CPR training making a difference or are they irrelevant, leaving the national averages “unchanged?”


Changing Demographics in the Workplace and its Effect on Corporate Health & Wellness Programs

An unanticipated side effect of the current economic climate is the changing demographic in the workplace. Long time employees are staying on the job and retiring later than did their predecessors, uncertainty about the future coupled with the fact that Social Security benefits that are not fully payable until age 66. More than one retiree has stayed in the workplace several years past a planned retirement date to hedge against shaky company pension funds.

But what of the younger worker, commonly referred to as Gen X? Clearly, as fewer workers are choosing retirement, correspondingly fewer younger workers are being hired. This change has greatly affected the demographics of the work place leading to a general graying of employees. The factors are far reaching, not the least of which is an impact upon corporate health and wellness care benefits. A shift from an emphasis upon health care for middle aged workers–traditionally a low risk group to insure– to the needs of workers previously considered “retirement age” has affected the amount of coverage employers are able to offer as well as the premium price tag employees and employers alike must pay due to higher risk factors associated with aging.

In spite of the fact that today’s “baby boomer” is more likely to eat healthily, exercise regularly, and less likely to smoke, there are health factors associated with aging such as high blood pressure and increased cardiac issues. Add to these the stress factor associated with the uncertain economy and the potential for strain upon the health care system is undeniable. Consider the strain upon the already thin company profit margin and the stress cycle begins anew.

It is time that employers recognize that the corporate health and wellness programs they provide must address the needs of the older worker. The risk for sudden cardiac arrest during exercise is twenty times as high as when at rest. Employers would be well advised to put into practice preventive programs as well as to equip all their workers with the skills necessary to address sudden cardiac arrest such as CPR training and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Unit deployment. The odds are that the longer a person lives and works, the greater the chance a cardiac event will be witnessed. The burden does not rest solely upon the employer, however. It is incumbent upon the older worker to make appropriate life style changes if needed as well as to become informed about interventions that may be necessary. This dual responsibility awareness forges the best possible work partnership, a situation where each is working with the other for mutual benefit.


Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) vs Fire Extinguishers

Consider this –

– There are millions of fire extinguishers deployed in buildings throughout the United States, while Automated External Defibrillators (AED units) offer less than 1% market saturation.

– Structures built from all types of materials are required to have fire extinguishers on site, while few buildings require defibrillators.

– A fire extinguisher might result in limited property damage, but its effect on saving a life is uncertain. Conversely, AED units will prevent death for the majority of Sudden Cardiac Arrest victims if applied in a timely manner.

– While fires spread quickly and do risk life, if SCA isn’t treated within 3-5 minutes, the victim’s chances of survival are less than 5%

– Today’s technology gives warning during the early, incipient stages of a fire, while Sudden Cardiac Arrest is instant and by definition shows no signs or symptoms before attacking its victims.

– Fires are a result of three things: oxygen, heat, and fuel. You take out one element and the fire will go out. Sudden Cardiac Arrest can attack any individual no matter their age, ethnicity, or background.

And yet –

According to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2007 report, “Fire Loss in the United States During 2007” there were 3,430 civilian and 102 firefighter deaths during the year. By comparison, Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) was estimated to take the lives of over 350,000 Americans during the year, far and away the country’s leading killer.

Certainly fires are tragic and all avoidable deaths, from fires or otherwise, have a detrimental impact on communities, families, and involved parties. However with so much attention paid to fires and fire-related deaths and so little to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) deaths, one must wonder about the inadequacies in coverage and attention between the two preventable occurrences.

Access to the life saving equipment to be able to respond to incidents is critically important for any type of emergency!


Workplace safety training in today’s economy

Imagine a co-worker collapses, an ambulance pulls up to your organization, and paramedics begin taking life-saving measures next to computers, telephones, and cubical walls. What had been until now a normal day, suddenly transforms into anything but normal. It is natural for anyone who witnesses this incident to experience a range of emotions – shock, distress, anxiety, concern. With Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) killing 1000 people every day in the US – more than breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, gun shot wounds, and car accidents COMBINED – it is certain that many of these deaths occur daily in the workplace.

With cost overruns, delayed sales close dates, reduced sales packages, and general market instability, business managers are forced, like never before, to plan for the unexpected. Significant injury and illness in the workplace affects all aspects of an organization and strikes even the large firms which are typically perceived to be resilient to one-person injuries due to their size. There is also the belief that such organizations are compartmentalized with employees forming personal relationships only with those in their department and sitting adjacent to them, which is a misconception.

The outcome of the incident described before, is directly correlated to the time and severity of the recovery process for everyone involved with it. A state of shock is long-lasting and powerful. Most organizations understand that while it is important to address an incident by being sensitive to their employees and allowing them adequate time during the grieving process, it is also important to transition the firm to normal business operations as quickly as possible – especially when precious resources are scarce and employees are nervous about their employment, as during poor economic conditions.

We all wish to be the anomaly of Sudden Cardiac Arrest’s reach and avoid it entirely however it is virtually impossible to do so given its effect on victims of all ages, races, and sexes. SCA strikes everyone and everywhere. Defibrillation within 3-5 minutes can result in greater than a 70% chance of survival, however, across the country today’s average save rates are less than 5%. Studies indicate the important role the public plays in mitigating the severity of cardiac arrest by providing early and proper CPR and early defibrillation.

Employees of organizations across the country are looking at the statistics and beginning to ask their employers ‘why aren’t we installing AED units and increasing the chance of survival at our office from 5% to over 70%?’ The business case for deployment becomes much more compelling when decision-makers analyze costs associated with decreased productivity, absent employees, presenteeism (when employees are in the office but unfocussed), and similar costs which commonly aren’t analyzed.

In a tough economy, organizations are forced to look at their bottom lines like never before. One way to save financial resources is to analyze the investment of only a few thousand dollars for effective, safe, and efficient AED programs versus the potential financial impact of lost productivity, higher absenteeism, and decreased morale after a death at the workplace. Such economic analysis doesn’t include the most important comparative measure of all, the “cost” associated with lost life. Automated External Defibrillator (AED) units are simply the right thing for employer’s to provide, in good times and bad.


Will AED units be as common as the fire extinguisher?

As a national CPR/AED training organization and multi-unit AED distributor, Annuvia has the opportunity to gain a very unique perspective on what is driving the AED industry’s growth. Studies indicate that bystanders play an important role during America’s most common killer – Sudden Cardiac Arrest emergencies.

Businesses and organizations of all sizes are increasingly deploying Automated External Defibrillators (AED Defibrillator) to provide an additional layer of safety for their employees. Some industry analysts have posited that AED units are anticipated to be as commonplace as fire extinguishers in the coming years. To help shed light on why the industry has grown so rapidly, Annuvia has released a report outlining the top five defibrillator drivers.

Five Greatest Defibrillator Drivers:
1. Significant Preventable Deaths
2. Laws, Statutes & Mandates Requiring AED Units
3. Possible Negligence Litigation
4. Widespread Adoption & Defibrillator Program Support
5. Improved Immunity Protection for AED Programs

It is our hope that by exposing would-be buyers (of AED units) to our vast research and analytical approach to this challenging industry, we can not only inform organizations of why other, potentially similar, groups are deploying AEDs, but ideally open management’s eyes to why this initiative is important.

To receive a FREE copy of the Five Defibrillator Drivers, please contact Annuvia at or with the subject line “Five Defibrillator Drivers” in your correspondence. Learn how the Automated External Defibrillator industry is growing and how your organization might be affected!


The Technology Curve

For today’s students from kindergarten through graduate school, technology is a way of life. This is a generation that has never heard an LP, let alone a 45. On a multiple choice quiz, these young people would be more likely to choose the answer “pistol” than “music recording” if asked the definition of the latter. A recent article referred to the student-teacher technology gap as the difference between technology immigrants and technology natives. Guess which is which?

The health care ramifications may not be immediately obvious, but a “technology native” is much more likely to be willing to use technology to save a life–for example, to deploy an AED–than would be a “technology immigrant” to perform the same action. Studies show that bystanders witnessing a cardiac arrest respond between 17-33% of the time – even though many have had CPR training in the past. Could these dismal response rates be associated with a lack of familiarity of the life-saving benefits of AED units?

Interestingly, next year for the first time the United States Air Force will buy more unmanned planes than manned. Some of these drones are already in use, guided by the video game generation from a base near Las Vegas, to attack and patrol in Iraq with the precision of a laser surgeon. What can be done to tap into this comfort level with technology to increase the numbers of citizens willing to perform life saving CPR and to activate AED devices if warranted? One answer is to begin where all social change is best begun: in the public schools.

Health education is already required in many states. It would be a simple matter to add CPR and First Aid training as part of this curriculum. The generation taking such courses already comprises a substantial portion of the victim demographic. Who better to equip with life saving skills than the very people likely to witness an emergency event?


The BEST AED Available! Or is it?

How controversial does it get? Like many important pieces of medical equipment, the sale and acquisition process of purchasing a life-saving device can be daunting – even outright frustrating. Couple this frustration with an inexperienced acquirer trying to learn and speak a language which heretofore was foreign to them and the migraine really starts to set in. Commonly AED purchasers cite “information overload” during the sales process. Battery Life, Electrode pad life, AED unit self checks, escalating energy vs. fixed energy, semi-automatic vs. automatic, you name it! Medical device manufacturers spend millions of dollars trying to simplify an important and complex medical process (analyzing a patient’s heart rhythm and delivering life-saving therapy – all in a matter of seconds), so why to AED salespeople overindulge the public with banal information? If the AED industry is so easy to understand, any bystander can be a rescuer with little-to-no formal training, and AED units utilize “smart” technology to avoid erroneous diagnosis, why do purchasers commonly hit a state of impasse when analyzing what unit is best for their needs?

Lets face it: all units are great. All units save lives. Nobody on this earth would like to be faced with a situation in which an AED isn’t available to them. So what’s the fuss? Are these features really important, and if so, does the public good which they offer outweigh the potential damage done by possible confusion and delaying device acquisition?

What do you think? Do AED unit differences matter, and if so, which ones?


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