Defibrillators

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 12:21
ThreadID: 136568 Views:995 Replies:7 FollowUps:7
In reply to another post of mine, Boobook said "The idler group may consider investing in a defibrillator. Expensive but probably one of the most useful things for an older group."

This is a very good comment so I thought I would give my take on defibrillators in a separate post..

If a person has a heart issue it is their decision as to whether they purchase and carry their own defibrillator. Personally, if I had a heart issue I would.

I am in the Idlers 4WD club. In winter there can be more than half a dozen trips away at any one time. If the club is to buy defibrillators it would have to be quite a few which is a lot of dollars. Then you have to contend with who looks after them,  and with changing technologies they are soon out of date anyway. It is just not really practical for a club to purchases defibrillators, there are better solutions.

The best solution is for the trip leader to get a quote for the hire of a defibrillator for the duration of any planned trip, work out a per head cost, and the whole group decide whether to go ahead with the defibrillator hire or not. 

Another possible solution is for one person to buy/hire a defibrillator and ask fellow travellers for a contribution based on what it is worth to them.

With the cost of defibrillators coming down this should, in the future, be given more serious consideration for those of us who at a much higher risk of having heart issues.

Chris
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Reply By: Hoyks - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 16:54

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 16:54
Nah, take one with you and wait until someone needs it, then start haggling.

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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 16:59

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 16:59
Great idea but no need to haggle. Tell everyone say $400 before the trip, or $2,500 if you need it on the trip.
Chris
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 17:03

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 17:03
Yes interesting issue. We are also members of a club (albeit triathlon) and on a group ride last year we had the visiting brother of one of our regular strong riders join us. Unbeknown to anyone including himself, he had a heart problem however it had never caused him a problem. He was a ticking time bomb. He was a fit guy in his 50s and had been cycling regularly for years. So it was quite a shock when he keeled over and fell off his bike whilst stationary at the regroup point. In front of about 12 club riders he had total heart failure. The group recalled passing the local district ambulance unit and saw the ambo sitting in the driveway. So one of the riders went back to get help. Meanwhile, the other riders commenced first aid. 1 of these riders is a FIFO worker and was confident with CPR which he immediately administered by the roadside. By the time the ambulance arrived with the defib, more than 15 minutes had passed and he was conscious again and no longer needed the defib. The paramedics were very impressed with the first aid and said there was no doubt it saved his life.

Our club then discussed the case for/against defibs on all group rides. Aside from the difficulty with the size of these units, the cost and upkeep is prohibitive for a club to fund and not actually practical for the activities we do.

A few weeks after this incident, at a public Park Run (totally outside our club system) another of our club members from that notorious ride, saw a runner ahead of them collapse and she performed CPR this stranger and saved his life. No defib on hand. The runner survived.

And then because it seems things run in threes, a few weeks after that, another of our club members (a 10x Ironman triathlete) had a heart attack whilst swimming at the local swimming pool during a training squad session. Despite being the most fit, lean 40 year old imaginable he too was a ticking time bomb but had no knowledge of this. He was dragged out of the water by other swimmers and the pool attendants used the defib and saved his life. He cannot continue endurance training so he has given up Ironman.

My point is that there are many reasons for heart attacks and you can't really predict who will have one. Many heart failures occur in people who have no knowledge of any underlying condition so any assistance that can be given, whether that is a defib or by person willing to give CPR, is critical.

Whilst the defib is ideal in some cases, everyone should still remember that ANYTHING you do to help another person in an emergency is vital first aid. So fellow travellers should always be ready to administer first aid - read up on your CPR, do a course to get practise, and be in the right frame of mind that you can save a life.
Michelle Martin
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 18:05

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 18:05
Excellent advice Michael.
Just because you do not have a defibrillator all is not lost. Knowing CPR is vital to those doing strenuous sport and remote travel.
For those who maybe not aware performing CPR is quite strenuous in itself. It is always a good idea to have several people who are able to do the CPR, or at least learn quickly, so that the load is shared.
For us retirees and not so fit people we need to be aware that we will need many helpers to keep up the CPR.
People should also be aware that defibrillators are very smart devices and will not deliver an electric shock in all cases. It will only deliver a shock if it deems that a shock is the most appropriate response. You may find that you have to do CPR anyway.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 20:28

Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 20:28
My 4wd Club if about 100 members has defibrillators and is able to maintain them - in view very worth while having and taking on every trip.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 20:58

Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 20:58
Our club has 270 members and typically in winter would have 6+ trip away at the one time, that's a lot of defibrillators. How do you decide who gets the defibrillators when there are more trips than defibrillators?
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Follow Up By: Nacho - Friday, Apr 20, 2018 at 11:45

Friday, Apr 20, 2018 at 11:45
Don't forget the aspirin's....100mg.
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Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 21:51

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 21:51
If you are one of the 'lucky ones' that go down on the wayside unconscious, with a fibrillating heart muscle and there is a defibrillator handy then lucky you. But if you go down with similar symtoms and there is no muscular electrical activity ie flat line well that's about it, no amount of shocks will wake it up ?
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 22:24

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 22:24
Right on Pinko, thats why you should know CPR. It may not work everytime but it has worked on occasion for some. Its always worth ago.
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Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 23:49

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 23:49
There's no doubt defibrillators have saved quite a few lives - but there are qualifications to having one, and knowing when it might assist - and having the medical knowledge to determine the best course and form of assistance.

Many older people suffer strokes, and a defibrillator is no use in that case.
I would opine that there's only a 50-50 chance that a defibrillator would be of use when someone took a turn for the worse.

It's important to know the difference between a stroke, a heart attack, and cardiac arrest.
A heart attack doesn't always lead to cardiac arrest. A number of people I know have had heart attacks and didn't know about it until later.
They had pains and lethargy, and it passed, and then, only later, did they find out they'd actually had a heart attack.

Difference between heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest

My nephews very healthy 42 yr old wife dropped like a stone on a Saturday morning in Feb 2017, and she was revived 5 times in the roughly half-hour before she got into the operating theatre of a major hospital.

However, even in the theatre, the docs worked on her for an hour, with no effective result, and they couldn't figure out what had gone wrong.

They then decided to cut her open and found to their horror, that she'd had a Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) - and there had actually been nothing wrong with her heart, nor was their any blockage.
But it was a split artery that had redirected the blood into her body rather than through her heart.

The final result was she survived, but her heart ended up buggered due to filling with congealed blood while they tried to "re-start" her heart.
She came home with a battery-powered HeartMate 3 pump stitched into her chest, and they waited 8 months to see if her heart would heal itself.

It didn't - and just yesterday, she got a heart transplant, and the good news is, she's recovering well.
Life will never be quite the same for them again, though.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 18:01

Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 18:01
While it is worthwhile knowing the difference between a stroke, a heart attack, and cardiac arrest, an AED (Automated External Defibrilator) will talk the operator through the process, and will not administer a shock if it is not required.
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Reply By: brushmarx - Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 08:59

Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 08:59
My thoughts are based on absolutely no knowledge on defribrillators, so you can either laugh at the following which may be better than some Friday Funnies or not. I promise I won't break down and cry.
Defribrillators obviously work using electricity, and the battery pack and charging system would be a fair degree of the expense.
Is there any feasibility in having a unit manufactured that could utilise the battery and alternator of a diesel vehicle or spark system of a petrol engine?
Plug in the "Zap Pack" (Trademark pending) to the cigarette lighter or Anderson Plug and fry the chest hairs?
Just a random thought.
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Reply By: Malcom M - Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 09:23

Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 09:23
Some worrying comments above. Do people here actually understand what a Defib does?
Its not as it appears in US films where it seems to be a miracle heart cure-all.You use it stop the heart muscle fibrillating and restore its regular rythm.
If the heart has stopped, the Defib does not restart it.

You need to undertake a first aid course so as to understand when it should be used but fortunately for the patient most newer machines cannot deliver a shock to the patient if he/she does not need one.

Have read http://www.aeds.com.au/use-an-aed.html
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Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 10:16

Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 10:16
The important thing to understand about defibrillators is that they are designed for only one thing - to re-start a heart that has gone into Ventricular Fibrillation.

VF is a failure of the hearts electrical stimulus system, which normally sends a regular electrical signal to the heart, that makes the heart muscles contract, and pump blood around your body.

A sizeable percentage of VF and heart failure, is caused by accidental high-voltage electrical shock.
This severe electrical shock disrupts the hearts electrical stimulus system and the heart starts to quiver, instead of beating regularly. This heart quivering is called VF.

A defibrillator "shocks" the hearts electrical stimulus system into working properly again.
There are many types of defibrillators, but the most useful is the automated type, called an AED.
These are designed to be used by people with fairly basic levels of medical training.

An AED can do a lot of the assessment work for the user. An AED can detect whether there is still a regular heartbeat, and will only provide a shock if the heartbeat is determined by the AED to be irregular, or the heart is just quivering.

An AED will also determine if a pacemaker is fitted and working properly, thus relieving the user of the need to find out - which is difficult and time consuming if the patient is unconscious.
If the AED finds a working pacemaker in place, then it will not administer a defibrillation shock.
If a pacemaker is fitted, but it is not working, then a defibrillation shock can be administered.

Common questions about AED's in the workplace

AED's - special circumstances of use

Cheers, Ron.
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