AEDs in Stockholm taxis: Cardiac Science for the week of April 27

Our weekly update on news in the world of heart safety and noninvasive cardiology

100 Stockholm taxis to be equipped with AEDs

Through a collaboration between city hospital services and the city’s taxi fleet, more than 100 taxis in Stockholm, Sweden, will be equipped with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) so they can be dispatched to assist victims of sudden cardiac arrest. With taxis throughout the city, in many cases one will be able to reach the location of an emergency more quickly than an ambulance that has to be dispatched from a centralized station.

“Every minute that passes reduces the chance of survival without any lasting injury by 10 percent,” the head of a Stockholm emergency rescue service told the press.

Taxi drivers have been trained to use the AEDs. “It’s incredibly easy,” was the way one of them described it. “You just lift the lid, push the on-off button, and it starts giving you instructions.”

Staffordshire equips 54 fire engines with Powerheart AEDs

fire-enginejpgFollowing the lead of the neighboring region of West Midlands, England, Staffordshire has equipped 54 front-line vehicles with automated external defibrillators, all of themCardiac Science Powerheart AEDs. Eighty firefighters have been trained as defibrillator instructors, and they, in turn, will train their teams at the fire stations.

“The safety of our crews is paramount,” a government official told the press. “Obviously they do work in high stress situations and extreme conditions.”

Fifty percent of the funding for equipping the Staffordshire vehicles was provided by Cardiac Science.

“Defibrillators need to become as common as fire extinguishers in all public places and work environments; this is a great step forward having them on fire appliances,” said Andy Relf, Business Corporation Manager at Cardiac Science.

In Japan, AEDs are credited with reducing deaths from sudden cardiac arrest

Yomiuri Shimbun published a comprehensive article about AED use in Japan after a rescue worker used one to save the life of a popular Japanese entertainer who was competing in the Tokyo Marathon March 22.

When Kunihiro Matsumura, 41, collapsed during the race a first aid worker on a bicycle used an AED to administer a shock that started the comedian’s heart beating again. Matsumura was treated at a hospital and released a few days later.

AEDs have been widely deployed in Japan since 2004, when Japan changed its laws to allow ordinary citizens to use AEDs in emergencies. AEDs are now sold in appliance stores in Japan; more than 90,000 AEDs are installed at schools, airports, bus and train stations. Events such as the Tokyo Marathon have AEDs positioned along the route.

Chicago teen dies of heart failure in baseball game accident

A 14-year-old Chicago boy who had overcome family tragedy to become a tri-sport athlete died last week in a ballfield accident. Maurice Davenport, abandoned by his parents and raised by another family, died after falling chest-first onto a softball he had just fielded.

maurice-davenportjpgDavenport was believed to have died from commotio cordis, a sudden heart-rhythm disturbance sometimes seen in young athletes who have received a blow to the chest. According to physicians who treated Davenport, if the impact occurs at a certain point in the heartbeat cycle, it can stop the heart.

The school where the softball game was played did not have an automated external defibrillator (AED) at the scene. According to a doctor at the emergency room where Davenport was taken, a shock from an AED immediately after the accident might have saved the boy’s life.

Hawaii, Kansas, enact laws supporting Good Samaritan use of AEDs

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius signed into law last week a bill that deletes the former requirement that a person be “qualified” in order to use an AED to give help in a cardiac emergency. Now anyone using an AED in good faith will be held harmlesss from civil damages resulting from the rescue effort.

In Hawaii, HB1537 was enacted April 23, providing limited immunity from lawsuits to people who provide training programs for using AEDs.

Donated AED saves a life in the first month

The spectator who collapsed at a baseball game in Floyds Knobs, Indiana, last week was savedby bystanders using a nearby AED installed only a month earlier.

One of the people who helped administer the shock that restarted the spectator’s heart was emergency room nurse Tana Bolus — one of the two local women who used a grant from the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County to purchase five defibrillators and distribute them to local ballparks. Bolus was at the ballpark to watch her son’s baseball game when the spectator, not identified in press reports, suffered sudden cardiac arrest.

A rescue inspires two AED donations

During last fall’s primary elections in Rose Creek, Texas, Rita Hanegraff, was on hand to serve as an elections judge. Before the day was through, she found herself using CPR to assist a voter who collapsed from a heart attack in the town hall. Hanegraff, a trained Red Cross volunteer, realized that the town meeting hall — and the town fire department — desperately neededautomated external defibrillators.

AEDs, which deliver a shock to re-start the heart, are more effective than CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation), and are much easier for people use with little or minimal training.

As a result of Hanegraff’s advocacy, the Worth County Development Authority and the township has provided funding for two AEDs.