Time is of the essence when it comes to treating individuals experiencing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) – in fact, it can be the difference between life and death – and now the American Heart Association and OSHA are encouraging employers to enact an automated external defibrillator (AED) program in the workplace.
The days of waiting for paramedics to arrive before accessing defibrillation technology are past. Survival rates decrease by approximately 10 percent for each minute that passes without intervention. Planning and training combine to improve those odds for workplace SCA events.
OSHA states: “All worksites are potential candidates for AED programs because of the possibility of SCA and the need for timely defibrillation. Each workplace should assess its own requirements for an AED program as part of its first-aid response.”
Preparing for Action
The American Heart Association lists five “Chain of Survival” steps to maximize lifesaving outcomes in cardiac arrest events:
- Immediate recognition of SCA and activation of emergency response systems
- Early “hands-only” CPR
- Rapid defibrillation
- Effective advanced life support
- Integrated post-cardiac arrest care
The first three steps require involvement from lay workplace responders, without which the final two steps often become irrelevant. Employees, customers, vendors and other visitors potentially will benefit from having a workplace rapid response program in place.
A study conducted at several Las Vegas casinos that had implemented AED programs, including training of dedicated employee responders, illustrated this point. The study found that mean response time was 2.9 minutes versus 9.8 minutes for paramedic arrival. Victims who received shock within three minutes enjoyed a 74.2 percent survival rate compared to 49.1 percent for those who received shock after three minutes.
For more information about instituting a cardiac emergency response protocol for your workplace, please call Chad Clippard, business liaison, at 573-331-3019.