H-HEALTH NEWS

Nov 1, 2012 9:23 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Device used to save cardiac arrest donated to KSBY

Sudden cardiac arrest can take a life in minutes, but health experts on Thursday told KSBY News that an automated external defibrillator, or an AED, can increase chances of survival to 70-percent.

Lynne Callahan, the founder of the The John W. Callahan Heart Safe Project wants more lives to be saved from AEDs. Her husband, whom her non-profit organization is named after, was the chief for the San Luis Obispo Fire Department for five years before dying from sudden cardiac arrest in 2010. She said she doesn't know if an AED would have saved her husbands life, but she said she lives with the pain of not knowing.

She has started a project through her organization, to team up with other establishments like PG&E, the Red Cross, and Cardiac Science, to donate AEDs to local businesses.

Callahan said, "finding out the staggering statistics of people that die out of the hospital setting because there's not an AED available, I realized something needed to be done."

The defibrillator that was donated to KSBY, they say, is a unique one.

Doug Jakobsen, an AED Specialist from Cardiac Science explains, "it does a little bit more than just analyze and shock, it's also checking what that person's body's impedance is, and what impedance is simply that particular body's resistance to electrical current."

That means, it's a fail-safe device. Anyone who administers one of Cardiac Science's AEDs, they say, can't mess up, because the device speaks out directions. It also will not release a shock until the machine finds a lethal arrhythmia in the body.

Local doctor, Paul Georghiou, who sits on Callahan's board, said the likelihood of surviving sudden cardiac arrest without an AED, is around 5-percent.

"It was also a dream of John's to be able to get AEDs out to the community," said Callahan.

She said they donated the first AED to KSBY, and four more local businesses will receive one. She said donating AEDs is only possible by the generous givings from the community.

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