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Saturday, March 18, 2017

What are your odds of having a Cardiac Arrest within a year?

Your chances of having a sudden cardiac arrest in the next year depend on a lot of factors...your health, your family history of arrests, your age...

Your age? How does your age have anything to do with it?
  • About 20% of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen to people under 50. Ditto for people in their 50's, ditto for those in their 60's, ditto for those in their 70's, and the same for those 80 or older.
  • The total size of these population blocks gets smaller and smaller as you get older.
  • The graph below shows the percentage chance of your having an arrest in the next 365 days.
Keep in mind that these figures about age distribution are approximate. It was a lot easier to calculate and remember by using the 20% number for each age bracket. The distortion isn't major.

When you couple this info with the facts that (1) 70% of all out of hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur in the home, and (2) the ambulance is going to have a difficult time getting to the victim within ten minutes (10% survival) or within 3 to 4 minutes (50-60% survival), you really might want to consider an AED for your home.


Saturday, January 28, 2017


The difference between performing CPR and using an AED
  1. An AED is a device that examines the victim's heart rhythm and advises the rescuer as to whether to administer a shock or to resume chest compression. The AED either delivers the shock when you press the button or it delivers the shock automatically.
  2. CPR pushes oxygen-bearing blood to the heart muscle and brain. The preservation of these two organs determine the degree you can function if resuscitated. CPR also delays the transition from a shockable rhythm to a non-shockable rhythm.
Which is better?
  1. Only very rarely will CPR bring a victim back without use of electricity and / or drugs. And because your probability of being brought back declines every minute after your arrest, Having an AED with you really bends the odds in your favor.
It's smart to insure against catastrophic outcomes.
  1. There is fire insurance to replace your home or goods if they burn
  2. There is life insurance to replace part of a paycheck when that person dies
  3. There is auto insurance to help repair or replace a wrecked car.
  4. ,,,and an AED provides the best available chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest!
Thought for the day: It's so much better to have an AED and never need it than to need it and not have it. Check out the group purchase savings at - just click on AED_deal near the top of the left menu.
Bob  (

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Why do you perform CPR?

The traditional answer is that (a) good CPR helps keep the heart and brain alive until the person can be brought back, (b) good CPR delays the transition of the heart rhythm from a shockable rhythm to a non-shockable one so the person can be brought back with a defibrillator (28% survival) instead of drugs (4% survival).

I would like to suggest that a more accurate answer is "Because nobody near the victim at the time of the arrest has an AED - an Automated External Defibrillator.

The simple fact is that, if you had an AED in the home, your best bet by far would be to use it.

Think about it - most people are doing CPR to maximize the outcome for the victim when the ambulance crew gets there and uses their defibrillator!

SLICC periodically runs a group purchase of a really good AED. Check it out.
If your answer to the question in the previous post was anywhere near zero, you were pretty close.

The reason is that for most people, you need to weigh more than the victim to get two-inch compression. This means that - with a few exceptions - for both people in that home to be able to compress the other's chest two inches, they both need to be heavier than the other.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

What percent of two-person households are composed of two people who can perform 2" compression on each other? (no decimals, no fractions)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Why you need a personal AED

The previous post was a variation on the "Don't worry about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" phrase.

The whole presentation from which that graph was taken is at...

CPR is broken.But at least it is fixable.


p.s., btw, it you and your spouse live alone together, one or two of you aren't heavy enough to perform chest compression until the ambulance gets there - get a personal AED. One way to do that is to go to and click on AED deal. We don't make a profit on this group purchase.

There is one similarity and one difference between...

(a) Teaching people how to save on airfare by wearing wings and flapping until they get to where they are going, and (b) teaching people how to perform manual CPR:

The similarity is that we're teaching something that most who need to cannot do. The difference is that a small number are able to perform guideline-compliant CPR.

It should be noted that the age distribution of the cohort approximated that of cardiac arrest victims.

For each of the four  groups, the upper-left point is what everybody in the group can do. The lower-right point is the best anybody in that group can do.

That's why my wife and I have a personal AED.