I REFER to the report “Five teens and AED save footballer’s life” (The Star, Sept 17). It is noteworthy that automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are readily available in many areas in Penang.
This is not the case in the rest of the country, however. These life-saving medical devices can detect electrocardiographic (ECG) rhythms and administer electrical shocks if it detects abnormal ventricular rhythms. The device’s voice commands tell the people resuscitating the victim what to do.
Besides the incident mentioned above, there was another case in a surau in Shah Alam where a doctor suffered a heart attack and was resuscitated by a colleague who was at the same place. The AED in an ambulance was used to shock the patient six times. He made it to hospital, had a coronary angiogram, dilation and stenting of the blocked coronary artery done, and was out of ICU within two days and discharged within a week without suffering any physical disability.
For a person who has collapsed, time is of the essence as permanent brain damage will set in after a lapse of three minutes. Hence, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has to be initiated immediately by anybody nearby. Successful resuscitations have always been the result of bystander layperson CPR started at the place of collapse and continued until medical expertise takes over. Any delay would result in brain damage, end-organ failure or death.
The current CPR recommendation requires effective chest compression without mouth-to-mouth breathing, so there is no need to breathe into another person’s mouth anymore. This makes the attempt to resuscitate more acceptable and can ensure higher success rates.
The use of the AED as a highly useful adjunct has proven to be very beneficial in the outcome.
While AEDs are now available in most public places (like shopping complexes and airports), there is a need to expand its availability and accessibility to places of worship, schools, clubs, public buildings, and etc. Although no lesson is needed to use the AED, there is a need to familiarise individuals with its use and where the devices are kept.
Remember that a delay can result in bad outcomes in these situations, hence having an AED nearby will make a difference. Everybody must be able to do basic life support or CPR as you might need to save a loved one.
DATUK DR ZULKIFLI ISMAIL
Reproduced by : The Star
Date : 19 Sept 2018