HEALTHCARE

How defibrillator shock saves victims of cardiac arrest

In order to make them highly visible, public access AEDs are often brightly coloured and are mounted in protective cases near the entrance of a building

In Summary

•An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is a device used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest

•Philips Foundation has so far contributed more than 40  AEDs to the Kenya Red Cross to be placed in ambulances in various parts of the country

Phillips team and Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago during the back to rhythm heart campaign
Phillips team and Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago during the back to rhythm heart campaign
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

Receiving a defibrillator shock within five minutes of collapse from cardiac arrest will increase a person’s chances of their survival.

One is said to have a cardiac arrest when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body, usually due to a problem with the heart’s electrical signals.

Experts say chances of survival reduce by 10 per cent every minute, adding that access to an Automated External Defibrillator is key in saving lives.

 

An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is a device used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

 It's sophisticated, yet easy-to-use medical device that can analyze the heart's rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.

Through the Back to Rhythm campaign, the Kenya Red Cross in partnership with Philips Foundation and are lobbying for a government policy to ensure all public places like hospitals, malls and universities are equipped with an AED.

Philips Foundation has so far contributed more than 40  AEDs to the Kenya Red Cross to be placed in ambulances in various parts of the country.

“We are committed to continue raising awareness about cardiac health and efficiently responding to cases of sudden cardiac arrests,” the Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Dr Asha Mohammed said.

“We challenge other development partners and the government to join hands and aid the Kenya Red Cross in equipping our ambulances and other public places with more AED’s” said the designate.”

AEDs are generally either kept where health professionals and first responders can use them (health facilities and ambulances) as well as public access units which can be found in public places including corporate and government offices, shopping centres, restaurants, public transport, and any other location where people may congregate.

Phillips team during the Back to rhythm heart campaign
Phillips team during the Back to rhythm heart campaign
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA
 
 

In order to make them highly visible, public access AEDs are often brightly coloured and are mounted in protective cases near the entrance of a building.

“We have collectively contributed to the donation of cardiac equipment worth Kshs. 10 Million from the Philips Foundation. We look forward to a continuous partnership between Philips Foundation and the County Government of Uasin Gishu geared towards enhancing the heart health of our citizens”.

Philips Africa CEO, Jasper Westerink noted that the problem seems to be ignored among athletes as they are always assumed to be fit since they exercise regularly.

Phillips team during the Back to rhythm heart campaign
Phillips team during the Back to rhythm heart campaign
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

“As at September 27, 283 athletics had been screened and four identified as having an underlying cardiac condition for which they will now undertake a secondary detailed examination,” Westerink said.

 Dr Muthoni Ntonjira, the medical director of Red Cross's emergency service, said they successfully attended to 88 cases of sudden cardiac arrest between 2017-2019.