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Defibrillation Breakthroughs

Published: December 19, 2008

Neighborhood Heart Watch, the brainchild of Dr. Douglas Zipes, is a grassroots initiative to place AEDs where most heart emergencies occur—in homes and neighborhoods. We bring you the latest defibrillation programs and technology.

Stayin’ Alive

A 1970s disco song popularized by the film Saturday Night Fever may help Good Samaritans keep the beat when performing CPR. Medical students and physicians trained to do CPR chest compressions while listening to “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees maintained close to the ideal rhythm of 100 compressions per minute when tested five weeks after completing their training. The research was presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians last October in Chicago.

“A number of pop songs have the right rhythm for CPR,” says researcher Dr. David Matlock of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, “but of course the meaning of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ is pretty powerful when you are trying to save someone’s life.”

Hearts at Risk

New findings from the Mayo Clinic show that the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) remains high for 30 days after a heart attack and then drops to rates below that of the general population. In the study, patients who had sudden cardiac death were older, more likely to be female, and to have a history of diabetes or hypertension. Data reveal that SCD risk following a heart attack has decreased over the past 30 years.

AED Offer

A Sioux Indian tribe has donated more than 400 defibrillators since 2004 to various Midwestern organizations.

Organizations in need of an AED may download a request form at mdfire.org or write to Mdewakanton LIFE Program, 2330 Sioux Trail NW, Prior Lake, MN 55372. In general, special priority is given to those areas currently served by few or no defibrillators.

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