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The deciding factor for cardiac arrest is time – how quickly a person gets help.
The five most important key factors for surviving cardiac arrest, also known as the life saving chain (see illustration), are:
There are different types of defibrillators. The one used at the University is an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), which is suitable for use by people without medical training. The device has electrodes which are attached to the victim's chest and the machine then analyses the person's heart rhythm. If the person's heart rhythm is not normal, an electric shock is administered to restart the heart.
Anyone can use a defibrillator and there is no law that requires you to have medical training to be allowed to use it. However, it is recommended to take a course in CPR and to repeat regularly.
The defibrillators at the University are self instructing and speak Swedish. Follow the instructions for the defibrillator and regularly attend a CPR course to keep your skills up-to-date.
Built-in functions in the machine prevent injuring someone. The machine only administers an electric shock at determined signals that are only present during cardiac arrest. However, there are some rules that are to be followed, such as not touching the victim when an electric shock is to be administered.
During a cardiac arrest, the person quickly becomes unconscious and shows no signs of life. When you have placed the electrode on the person, the machine will analyse him/her and determine whether defibrillation is needed or not. It will also indicate if more shocks are needed, depending on if the heart has resumed its normal rhythm or not.
The defibrillator performs a daily self test. As long as the green Ready light is blinking, no testing of the defibrillator is necessary. Regular checks are done by replacing used or out-of-date consumables every other or every fifth year. The defibrillator is also checked during workplace safety rounds. If you discover that the machine is missing or seems damaged in some way, please contact the University HR Department.
Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone. It could be a family member, a colleague, a person on the street or a close friend, young as well as old.
Every year, around 10,000 people in Sweden are afflicted with sudden cardiac arrest and treatment is started on around 4,000. Of these, only around 400 survive. That means the majority dies.
Since cardiac arrest happens in all age groups and often without warning, it is impossible to define exact locations for where each defibrillator should be placed. Locations where there are a lot of people or where many people pass by as well as high risk locations such as sports facilities, public baths and similar places are suitable locations for the placement of defibrillators.
These are examples of where defibrillators are placed today:
You find where the defibrillators are placed on the map below.