News

St John WA reports bystander CPR and AED use is vital for survival

Monday, October 30, 2017

Community AEDs

For the first time, St John Ambulance WA have released an Annual Report on the management of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, using data reaching back decades from the PRECU registry at Curtin University.

The report reveals the number of West Australians surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) has increased 75% in the past three years due to an increase in bystanders stepping in to perform CPR and use public defibrillators. Data shows that patients shocked by a public AED survive at twice the rate of those shocked just a few minutes later by a St John clinical crew. The discharge alive rate of 57 per cent provides powerful evidence as to the value of public AEDs and their associated impact on survival outcomes.

Unadjusted survival outcomes according to who shocked the first in OHCA cases of all ages where resuscitation was commenced with a shockable rhythm in WA in 2016
Unadjusted survival outcomes according to who shocked the first in OHCA cases of all ages where resuscitation was commenced with a shockable rhythm in WA in 2016 (ROSC: Return Of Spontaneous Circulation)

The report also shows the median response times for SJA WA paramedics to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest events where bystanders did NOT initiate resuscitation was 12 minutes for rural WA and 9 minutes for the Perth Metropolitan area. With irreversible damage starting within 3 to 5 minutes after circulation stops and victims being unresuscitatable at around 10 minutes without circulation, it is clear that bystander CPR and AED use is absolutely critical in the chain of survival.

Response time of OHCA cases of all ages where resuscitation was commenced by SJA WA paramedics
Response time of OHCA cases of all ages where resuscitation was commenced by SJA WA paramedics

The St John WA Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Report emphasises that: "for every minute post-arrest without either CPR of defibrillation, survival falls 10 per cent. This carries the heavy implication that events preceding ambulance arrival are critical to the eventual patient outcome. Patients who receive early, high quality CPR and defibrillation with a locally available AED survive at approximately five times the rate of those who have neither."

Download the full report now: St John WA - Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Report 2016.

Research proves community AEDs and CPR training is effective

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Community AEDs

Research published this month in the European Resuscitation Council's official journal Resuscitation examines communities out-of-hospital Cardiac Arrest data, before and after running widespread CPR instruction programs and making AEDs available.

The research discovered that once the communities had made CPR training and AEDs readily available, out-of-hospital victims of Cardiac Arrest were four times more likely to receive CPR and twice as likely to receive defibrillation before emergency services arrived.

"Chest compressions and AED placement are critical first steps in the chain of survival that can be performed by citizens and first responders, so engaging the public is crucial," said Lori Boland, lead author of the study.

The study examined 294 out-of-hospital Cardiac Arrest events across 17 communities, 120 before the communities had widespread AEDs and CPR training available, and 174 events afterwards. Bystander CPR rates increased from 83% to 95%, and bystander Defibrillation increased from 63% to 77% - with a recorded rise in survival rates.

"This paper confirms our belief that training the public results in increased bystander CPR and AED rates," said Dr. Charles Lick, coauthor of the report.

Read the announcement from the authors at Allina Health and download the paper from Resuscitation, Vol. 119, October 2017, Pages 33-36.

AEDs required by law on Queensland reef vessels

Monday, August 14, 2017

Victorian

With 10 tourist fatalities in 6 months around the Great Barrier Reef, the Queensland State Government has put into law a stronger Code of Practice for Recreational Snorkelling and will shortly announce revised Diving Safety guidelines.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace announced the long-awaited changes to make the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland's other waterways safer for snorkellers.

  • Automatic External Defibrillators now required on all reef tourist vessels to improve emergency response capabilities.
  • Allow operators to request declarations from persons identified as at-risk snorkellers prior to them entering the water.
  • Mandate the use of floatation devices for at-risk snorkellers.
  • Ensure at-risk snorkellers wear a different coloured vest or snorkel and mask for easy visual identification.

Col McKenzie, CEO of Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators said the changes would "empower’" operators, who could now ask visitors to declare any medical history "If they refuse... then they can be told they are not getting in the water. Until now, we have had to let them and wear the consequences".

Ms Grace said the reforms were the result of the Reef Safety Roundtable held in Cairns in February, and the is working with stakeholders to finalise a Recreational Diving Code of Practice to be announced in coming weeks.

Bystanders saving lives in Victoria

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Victorian

Ambulance Victoria's 2015-2016 Cardiac Arrest Registry Annual Report reveals encouraging statistics where bystanders have been stepping in to help and making a real difference while waiting for Emergency Medical Services to arrive.

  • Patients who received bystander CPR were twice as likely to be discharged alive from hospital.
  • Patients who received bystander CPR were 11 times more likely to be found in a shockable rhythm.
  • Patients who received bystander Defibrillator shock survived the event 76% of the time, as opposed to 50% when waiting for ambulance paramedics to arrive and deliver the shock.

These great results in Victoria further highlights the need for Public Access AEDs with CPR coaching across Australia - it makes a life saving difference.

Download the full report now: Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry (VACAR) 2015-2016 Annual Report.

HeartSine donates AEDs with "Forward Hearts" program

Monday, March 13, 2017

Heartsine donates defibrillators with Forward Hearts program

Individuals who survive a Sudden Cardiac Arrest due to a HeartSine defibrillator are given the chance to save other lives thanks to HeartSine's "Forward Hearts" program, which donates a samaritan Public Access Defibrillator to the charity or organization of their choice.

To celebrate the life-saving event, the donation is made in the survivor's name (unless they prefer anonymity), in HeartSine's name, and in the distributor's name.

To learn more about the Forward Hearts program watch the video where one of our distributors at a donation event, where they explain how Forward Hearts work. For further information, download the Forward Hearts Brochure and Distributors Guide to Forward Hearts.

Heartsine AED saves life at Frenchmans Beach, NSW

Monday, February 13, 2017

Heartsine Samaritan AED saves life at Frenchmans Beach near Caves Beach, Lake Macquarie, NSW

Bystanders and Lifeguards with a Heartsine Defibrillator have saved a surfer's life at Frenchman's Beach in the Caves Beach area south of Newcastle.

The 65-year-old was leaving the water at 11am on Friday when he collapsed - CPR was administered by an off-duty paramedic on the beach, before lifeguards arrived from nearby Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club with a HeartSine Samaritan AED.

"We put the pads on and we gave one shock, and a few minutes after that he came to," said Caves Beach Lifeguard James McMorland "I haven't really thought about it much but it may kick in later: sort of that we brang someone back to life."

The man was airlifted from the beach by the Westpac Rescue Chopper and taken to the John Hunter Hospital, additionally suffering a laceration from hitting his head on his surfboard when he collapsed.

NBN News interviewed lifeguards and an off-duty lifeguard involved.

"The defibrillator - nicknamed the Samaritan - it did the trick," said reporter Samuel Djodan.

Is your defibrillator at risk of being hacked?

Monday, February 06, 2017

Defibrillators Hacked?

Making for scary headlines everywhere is the announcement from the US Federal and Drug Administration that weaknesses have been found in some cardiac devices, making it possible for a hacker to remotely access the device and cause it to function incorrectly - potentially causing fatalities. But what are the facts?

  • Automated External Defibrillators such as our range of Heartsine AEDs are completely unaffected.
  • This announcement is only relevant to Internal Defibrillators and Pacemakers.
  • Only devices fitted with wireless communications are vulnerable to this attack.
  • Successful hacking has so far been limited entirely to security firms aiming to fix any vulnerabilities they can find in order to make these devices safer.

Internal defibrillators and pacemakers developed in recent years are frequently built with wireless communications access (similar to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) to allow medical professionals to remotely monitor the device, download performance data and make adjustments. For example, pacemakers implanted into younger patients often need reconfiguring throughout the first few months to allow the device to recognise and respond correctly to the patients more physically active lifestyle than it's default settings are prepared for. Being able to make these adjustments without surgery has obvious health benefits.

Unfortunately, this means there is also a potential that a highly skilled hacker could gain access to the device via the same means, and make changes to the internal defibrillator/internal pacemaker and cause serious harm to the patient.

In reality, such hacking has to date only been successfully done by security firms attempting to find vulnerabilities in these devices, with the specific aim of improving their security and prevent malicious hackers from gaining access. The recent headlines are for one manufacturer in particular, but the potential for hacking similar internal devices with wireless communication has been known and studied for quite some time, and this research does occasionally make for dramatic headlines in the news.

You can read the full announcement from the FDA, and while it intentionally makes for sobering reading, the FDA stresses in the report that:

"There have been no reports of patient harm related to these cybersecurity vulnerabilities"

The announcement details that the manufacturer in this specific case has already created a fix for the issue, and outlines what steps you need to take to ensure the fix reaches affected devices.

Federation University to study Defibrillator use

Thursday, February 02, 2017

two lives saved

Federation University researchers will study medical emergency management and defibrillator use in sporting clubs, after the state government provided grants for 1000 defibrillators and training to be made available to Victorian sports clubs and facilities. The research itself is also the result of a Victorian Government grant.

Talking to Aero Healthcare, Federation University project manager Dr Lauren Fortington said "The research is aimed at understanding the defib program uptake and outcomes and changes to policy/practice at a community sports level. The project fits in with our team's broader implementation/translation research in community sports safety. This project, while focused on Victorian sports clubs, will no doubt have benefit to national, and international, discussion too."

The research team will also look at whether there are changes in the participants' confidence and preparedness for responding to medical emergencies.

"It is critical to look at the behavioural and organisational changes that take place in sports clubs to ensure that long term benefits from such programmes are realised," Dr Lauren Fortington said. "We will look at what the participants learn from the programme, and what they remember over time from their defibrillator use and CPR skills training."

The research will be conducted through FedUni’s Australian Collaboration for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), one of only nine centres worldwide that are part of the International Olympic Committee medical research network for prevention of injury and protection of athlete health.

For more details see the Federation University grant announcement: FedUni to research medical emergency management in sporting clubs

Call for Defibrillator use in the Australian National Curriculum

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

two lives saved

Water safety experts are calling for practical lifesaving to become part of Australia's National Curriculum after 21 people drowned in just 2 weeks over the 2016/2017 new year.

Bruce "Hoppo" Hopkins, head lifeguard at Bondi Beach and vice president of Surf Educators International said there had been 400 rescues at Bondi since Christmas Eve and 220 ambulance call outs for near drownings.

"It is extremely important that children are educated in all aspects of water safety. Given the recent tragedies, I believe it is crucial that we pass on valuable knowledge."

Mr Hopkins said swim safety and lifesaving techniques including CPR, spinal management and how to use a defibrillator should be taught in schools as part of the national curriculum.

"It should be compulsory," he said. "We take kids as young as four years old into the water and in a controlled environment using flotation devices such as kickboards, we show them what to do if they are in a rip. Staying calm and floating is key and it is great to see the kids relax and learn how to respect the ocean."

Tracey Ayton, chief executive of Eastlakes' Little Heroes Swim Academy, said people with swimming pools on their property should ensure they were fenced off and learn CPR in the event of an accident.

"If you are the owner of a pool and are hosting a party always make sure there is an allocated pool watcher, just like a designated driver," she said. "This person must be an able bodied adult who is ready to get wet and rescue if needed, not someone reading a book or distracted by phones."

Does your school have a defibrillator? Check out the facts here.

2 lives saved in just 2 weeks!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

two lives saved

Lives are being saved more and more often by AEDs across Australia, becoming commonplace enough that we don't always get to hear the good news. However we have heard reports that two lives were saved already this year by our AEDs in different states of Australia at a Fitness Centre and a Shopping Centre - two places you would not want to be without an AED.

What a great way to start 2017! To celebrate, our "Forward Hearts" program will donate an AED for each of the individuals who survived sudden cardiac arrest to the charity or organization of their choice.

We hope the year sees more being installed in similar venues throughout Australia, and that they continue to save lives whether we hear about them or not.

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