What Are The Chances of Survival When Using a Defibrillator?

What Are The Chances of Survival When Using a Defibrillator?

What Are The Chances of Survival When Using a Defibrillator?

What Are The Chances of Survival When Using a Defibrillator?

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, they could be past the point of no return in a matter of seconds. Using a defibrillator is the only way to offer someone the chance of survival, and the sooner one can be used the better. 

The biggest advantage of using an automated external defibrillator is that you could save a life when someone has virtually no chance of survival by any other means. In this article, we’ll look at just how effective using a defibrillator is and what affects a person’s chance of survival from cardiac arrest.

Defibrillator in public space

What happens during cardiac arrest?

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, their heart stops beating suddenly, ceasing the flow of oxygenated blood to the vital organs and other body parts. Anyone can experience cardiac arrest; around 30,000 are reported each year outside hospitals.

Cardiac arrest is caused by arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat that occurs when the electrical signals that keep the heartbeat regular are interrupted. There are different types of arrhythmia and not all cause cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrest is also called sudden cardiac arrest because it happens all of a sudden. A person will collapse, stop breathing and have no pulse if they go into cardiac arrest.

What does a defibrillator do?

AEDs, or Automatic External Defibrillators, are used to help people who have gone into cardiac arrest. Together with CPR, which is used to help keep oxygenated blood moving around the body, a defibrillator works by resetting the heart and helping it return to a normal rhythm.

Often, people think a defibrillator works by giving the heart a ‘jump start’, but in fact what happens is the opposite. A defibrillator triggers a restart in each of the heart’s cells. It does this by passing a short electrical current through the heart which de-polarises the cardiac muscle.

If successful, this will allow the individual cells in the heart to recharge at the same time, and the heart’s natural pacemaker will be able to re-establish a rhythm. This normal heartbeat is called the sinus rhythm.

A defibrillator will be able to detect an unnatural but shockable rhythm and use this to determine whether a shock can be administered. A fully automatic AED will administer a shock as soon as it determines whether one is needed, provided it is in the right position. A semi-automatic AED will let you know when to press the button to administer a shock once it’s determined necessary.

10 minutes after a cardiac arrest the chance of survival is highly unlikely, but paramedics take an average of 11 minutes to arrive on the scene in urban areas of the UK. If you go into cardiac arrest and you’re not in the hospital, you’ll be depending on a member of the public using a public access AED and performing CPR.

Find out more about how a defibrillator works and when to use a defibrillator in our blog.

Life Expectancy After Defibrillator Use

What does early defibrillation do?

When someone is in cardiac arrest every minute counts because the longer their heart isn’t working the more oxygen-starved their vital organs become. These steps show how early defibrillation can decrease the chance and severity of an injury.

1. Two minutes after cardiac arrest CPR must begin. 

2. Three minutes after cardiac arrest, lack of blood flow begins to affect the function of the brain, leading to potential brain injury that gets progressively worse the longer the person is not resuscitated.

3. Nine minutes after cardiac arrest brain damage is likely. 

4. 10 minutes after cardiac arrest survival is very unlikely. 

Survival Rates of Early Defibrillation

Early defibrillation survival rates decrease quickly after someone goes into cardiac arrest. If defibrillation occurs within five minutes of cardiac arrest, the person has a survival chance of 50-70%. This decreases by 10% for every minute they are in cardiac arrest.

Maximum % Survival Rate70%60%50%40%30%20%
Minutes in Cardiac Arrest5678910
Maximum % Survival Rate70%60%50%40%30%20%
Minutes in Cardiac Arrest5678910

The Importance of Early Defibrillation

So, how effective is a defibrillator? A 2017 study published by the National Institute of Health found that the survival rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK is 8%, lower than that of other developing countries. The introduction of CPR and attaching a defibrillator by a bystander led the chance of survival to increase to 32%. Defibrillation where a shock could be and was administered further increased survival rates to 53%. This study shows that, in some cases, using an AED defibrillator increases the survival rate by a factor of up to 7.

Where CPR and attaching a defibrillator by a police officer or firefighter occurred, survival rates were just 12%. Overall the study showed that the intervention of a bystander, who could begin to help the person in a shorter space of time, gave those in cardiac arrest a significantly greater chance of survival.

Can you still die from a defibrillator?

While using defibrillators can significantly improve survival rates for many casualties who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest, even immediate defibrillation cannot guarantee that the patient will recover and survive. 

Time is precious, so immediate CPR and defibrillation offer the best chance of survival. When this doesn’t happen, and the victim is not revived within 10 minutes of suffering cardiac arrest, the brain damage caused by lack of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs is usually irreversible.

However, given the increased survival rates of early defibrillation, ensuring that there is easy access to AEDs throughout society can significantly reduce the likelihood of a casualty dying from cardiac arrest. Defibrillation can save lives, especially when combined with consistent CPR. 

More and more defibrillators are being installed in public places to give people the chance of survival in a cardiac arrest situation. Any place that is used by members of the public or by workers should have access to a defibrillator. Public access defibrillators and workplace defibrillators are important investments for many businesses. 

Defibrillators should be installed on a wall-mounted bracket so they can be easily seen and accessed while kept safe when not in use. It’s also a good idea to keep a spare AED battery nearby, just in case. If you buy from Steroplast, we’ll notify you when your defibrillator batteries are about to go out of date, so you’ll never find yourself with a flat AED battery.

Defibrillators from Steroplast

Steroplast stocks AEDs to suit a range of needs. Find out all about different types of AED and how to choose to best defibrillator for your needs on our blog, or take a look through our defibrillators and accessories below.

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Please enter your details into the form below along with any questions or comments and a member of our team will be happy to provide you with more information:

What Are The Chances of Survival When Using a Defibrillator?

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, they could be past the point of no return in a matter of seconds. Using a defibrillator is the only way to offer someone the chance of survival, and the sooner one can be used the better. 

The biggest advantage of using an automated external defibrillator is that you could save a life when someone has virtually no chance of survival by any other means. In this article, we’ll look at just how effective using a defibrillator is and what affects a person’s chance of survival from cardiac arrest.

Defibrillator in public space

What happens during cardiac arrest?

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, their heart stops beating suddenly, ceasing the flow of oxygenated blood to the vital organs and other body parts. Anyone can experience cardiac arrest; around 30,000 are reported each year outside hospitals.

Cardiac arrest is caused by arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat that occurs when the electrical signals that keep the heartbeat regular are interrupted. There are different types of arrhythmia and not all cause cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrest is also called sudden cardiac arrest because it happens all of a sudden. A person will collapse, stop breathing and have no pulse if they go into cardiac arrest.

What does a defibrillator do?

AEDs, or Automatic External Defibrillators, are used to help people who have gone into cardiac arrest. Together with CPR, which is used to help keep oxygenated blood moving around the body, a defibrillator works by resetting the heart and helping it return to a normal rhythm.

Often, people think a defibrillator works by giving the heart a ‘jump start’, but in fact what happens is the opposite. A defibrillator triggers a restart in each of the heart’s cells. It does this by passing a short electrical current through the heart which de-polarises the cardiac muscle.

If successful, this will allow the individual cells in the heart to recharge at the same time, and the heart’s natural pacemaker will be able to re-establish a rhythm. This normal heartbeat is called the sinus rhythm.

A defibrillator will be able to detect an unnatural but shockable rhythm and use this to determine whether a shock can be administered. A fully automatic AED will administer a shock as soon as it determines whether one is needed, provided it is in the right position. A semi-automatic AED will let you know when to press the button to administer a shock once it’s determined necessary.

10 minutes after a cardiac arrest the chance of survival is highly unlikely, but paramedics take an average of 11 minutes to arrive on the scene in urban areas of the UK. If you go into cardiac arrest and you’re not in the hospital, you’ll be depending on a member of the public using a public access AED and performing CPR.

Find out more about how a defibrillator works and when to use a defibrillator in our blog.

Life Expectancy After Defibrillator Use

What does early defibrillation do?

When someone is in cardiac arrest every minute counts because the longer their heart isn’t working the more oxygen-starved their vital organs become. These steps show how early defibrillation can decrease the chance and severity of an injury.

1. Two minutes after cardiac arrest CPR must begin. 

2. Three minutes after cardiac arrest, lack of blood flow begins to affect the function of the brain, leading to potential brain injury that gets progressively worse the longer the person is not resuscitated.

3. Nine minutes after cardiac arrest brain damage is likely. 

4. 10 minutes after cardiac arrest survival is very unlikely. 

Survival Rates of Early Defibrillation

Early defibrillation survival rates decrease quickly after someone goes into cardiac arrest. If defibrillation occurs within five minutes of cardiac arrest, the person has a survival chance of 50-70%. This decreases by 10% for every minute they are in cardiac arrest.

Maximum % Survival Rate70%60%50%40%30%20%
Minutes in Cardiac Arrest5678910
Maximum % Survival Rate70%60%50%40%30%20%
Minutes in Cardiac Arrest5678910

The Importance of Early Defibrillation

So, how effective is a defibrillator? A 2017 study published by the National Institute of Health found that the survival rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK is 8%, lower than that of other developing countries. The introduction of CPR and attaching a defibrillator by a bystander led the chance of survival to increase to 32%. Defibrillation where a shock could be and was administered further increased survival rates to 53%. This study shows that, in some cases, using an AED defibrillator increases the survival rate by a factor of up to 7.

Where CPR and attaching a defibrillator by a police officer or firefighter occurred, survival rates were just 12%. Overall the study showed that the intervention of a bystander, who could begin to help the person in a shorter space of time, gave those in cardiac arrest a significantly greater chance of survival.

Can you still die from a defibrillator?

While using defibrillators can significantly improve survival rates for many casualties who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest, even immediate defibrillation cannot guarantee that the patient will recover and survive. 

Time is precious, so immediate CPR and defibrillation offer the best chance of survival. When this doesn’t happen, and the victim is not revived within 10 minutes of suffering cardiac arrest, the brain damage caused by lack of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs is usually irreversible.

However, given the increased survival rates of early defibrillation, ensuring that there is easy access to AEDs throughout society can significantly reduce the likelihood of a casualty dying from cardiac arrest. Defibrillation can save lives, especially when combined with consistent CPR. 

More and more defibrillators are being installed in public places to give people the chance of survival in a cardiac arrest situation. Any place that is used by members of the public or by workers should have access to a defibrillator. Public access defibrillators and workplace defibrillators are important investments for many businesses. 

Defibrillators should be installed on a wall-mounted bracket so they can be easily seen and accessed while kept safe when not in use. It’s also a good idea to keep a spare AED battery nearby, just in case. If you buy from Steroplast, we’ll notify you when your defibrillator batteries are about to go out of date, so you’ll never find yourself with a flat AED battery.

Defibrillators from Steroplast

Steroplast stocks AEDs to suit a range of needs. Find out all about different types of AED and how to choose to best defibrillator for your needs on our blog, or take a look through our defibrillators and accessories below.

Please enter your details into the form below along with any questions or comments and a member of our team will be happy to provide you with more information:

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