Every year in the UK between 80,000 and 120,000 people suffer a sudden cardiac arrest while in a public place. A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart’s electrical activity is disrupted causing it to beat dangerously fast or irregularly. This altered heart rhythm (arrhythmia) stops the heart pumping blood effectively. This in turn stops blood flow to the brain and other vital organs which can result in death or serious damage to the brain if not treated quickly and effectively.
Automated External Defibrillators (or AEDs) are life saving devices which can be used together with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in an emergency situation. CPR can be administered manually to keep blood flowing to the heart and brain for a time after cardiac arrest, but only an AED can restore the heart’s normal rhythm. The initial response time after someone has suffered a cardiac arrest is crucial to their chances of survival. The chances of resuscitation fall by at least 10% with every minute that defibrillation is delayed so there is a very real advantage in having an AED on site.
Currently the only AED registered in central Sevenoaks is located within the Tesco store on the High Street. The need for an AED is assessed using several risk factors such as numbers of people passing by and the average ages of those people. It is also highly recommended for healthcare facilities to have access to an AED locally. Statistics show that there is a reasonable possibility of a cardiac arrest occurring in most locations. Unfortunately there is very little that can be done to reduce this risk. This means that the only practicable action possible is to ensure that in an emergency the location and accessibility of an AED is easy and well known to the community.
On this basis the clinic has decided to invest in an AED and will train some of our staff to react appropriately in an emergency situation. We would like our patients to help us to raise awareness locally and let people know that this is available here at the clinic.
The AED will be accessible within clinic hours : weekdays 8am to 7pm (until 10pm on Mondays and Wednesdays) and between 9am and 5pm on Saturdays. We hope that this will be of benefit to our patients, local residents and local businesses within the immediate vicinity of Pembroke Road, if required.
Of course we very much hope that we will never have to use our AED but should the need arise this device could make a huge difference to the chances of someone surviving and making a full recovery after a cardiac arrest.