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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Performing CPR requires three abilities"

  1. Compress the chest to a depth of 2 to 2.4 inches.
  2. Compress it 100 to 120 times a minute.
  3. Get at least all but 1.8 pounds off the chest at full recoil/
Here's the problem:
  1. About 0% of all households where both adults can compress their spouse's chest to two inches.
  2. Most Bystanders compress at too slow a rate.
  3. Most Bystanders "lean" - i.e., leave more than two pounds of force on the chest at the top of the full recoil stroke.
The only reasonable solution is to have an AED at home. 

Another problem: only 44% of the arrests are witnessed. There is a device that will call 911 + other, specified parties when you arrest. If the rescuer is in the same residence as you and you have an AED at home, your odds of survival go from zero percent to more than 50%, if you have an AED at home.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

This was an interesting week. I encountered several surprising things.

  1. Earlier this week, there was a Today Show segment on CPR with Dr. Oz. It was this session that informs us that to perform Chest Compressions you have a depth choice from one to two inches. (The depth guideline became 1.5 to 2 inches in 2005. The depth guideline became 2 inches in 2010. The depth guideline became 2 to 2.4 inches in 2015.)
  2. Dr. Oz showed how to apply the AED pads and got it wrong: The pad on the victim's left side is supposed to go on the left side wall, not just lower than the left nipple. (We're trying to make a "heart sandwich" out of the heart and the two pads. The AED works better that way.)
  3. Dr. Oz forgot to tell the audience how to tell when someone they encounter has had a sudden cardiac arrest. (non-responsive and not breathing normally.)
  4. I wasn't able to find a way to get the corrections to the Today Show.
By the way, when the depth guideline went to 1.5 to 2 inches, a significant number of instructors weren't able to renew their certificates because they weren't able to compress to 1.5 inches on a manikin whose stiffness was significantly less than than the average adult.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Driverless cars and Sudden Cardiac Arrest...

Driverless cars will be actively sold before the end of this decade. They will phase in over the following 20 years.
Recent evidence shows that the accident rate with a driverless car is far less than with a human at the wheel.
One consequence is that, if the "driver" is wearing a device such as iBeat, the car can re-route and head for the closest ER when that passenger / driver is recently clinically dead.
Sure beats calling an ambulance.

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.