By Dan Walton
Because heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, its a relief to know that victims of cardiac arrest can receive immediate treatment from Automatic External Defribillators (AED) by any person willing to help.
AEDs are supposed to be available to bystanders, not medical professionals, Dr. Francois Louw of Chisel Peak Medical Clinic told The Pioneer. The idea is that its a public tool.
Currently, three AEDs are active in Invermere with two more expected in the near future, as pictured.
The machines have been designed for simplicity.
People should not be afraid of using them, he said. They can basically learn it on the fly – they just need to know where they are located, and not be afraid to at least just put the pads on the chest, because not using the machine harms the patient more than using it.
Modern AEDs are equipped with detectors to make the machine aware of the victims condition, while instructing the user through voice prompts on where to place the pads, when to perform CPR and how to place the electrode which analyzes rhythm.
It takes you through everything and talks you through it. You do not have be specially trained. Its a smart machine – its easier to operate than an Iphone, he said.
You cant shock somebody [without a heartbeat] into a worse state than they are already in. If theyre down and out, they need some electricity and some CPR.
Over the past two yeras, two patients had their lives saved in Invermere becasuse of AEDs, Dr. Louw said.