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Close to our heart

In hospital series on TV, this scene has nearly become standard: cardiac arrest and the heart stops beating, doctors rushing along and trying to get patients back to life giving them a well-dosed surge of current with a defibrillator.

In practice, a flatline means that the heart stops beating. This is where the cardiopulmonary resuscitation is used that we know from our first-aid course being part of our driving license. This is why the defibrillator does not replace the cardiopulmonary resuscitation that supplies the brain and all other organs with oxygen. If the heart cramps, however, like in case of a so-called ventricular fibrillation, the life-threatening arrhythmias can even be eliminated by electrical impulses in addition to the manual reanimation through a first-aider.

As a layperson it is neither possible to distinguish between the two situations nor to discharge an electric impulse. This is where Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) come into play. The portable life-savers give clear visual and acoustic instructions to the first-aiders, autonomously analyze the cardiac rhythm and determine whether a cardiopulmonary resuscitation or a shock is necessary. The latter is triggered by the device and aims at restoring the normal heart frequency or at least the flatline. If there is normal heart activity the AED initially gives the all-clear and monitors the patient until emergency medical care arrives.

Cardiovascular diseases top the list of death causes. Contrarily to the common belief, this does not only affect elderly people. The tragedy is that the chance of survival drops by 10% with each
minute being without early defibrillation. This is why BASS now has its own AED at hand so that as little valuable time as possible elapses in the event of an emergency to save a beloved colleague from nursing care or death.

We hope that we will never need the AED but we are grateful to know that these devices exist and that they are more and more available in several places as it is now the case in the heart of our plant.


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