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Algorithms to reanimate the heart
Date:10/2/2007

When an adult suffers a cardiorespiratory arrest the rapid application of an electrical discharge with a defibrillator can avoid sudden death in many cases. Nevertheless, defibrillation also has its impediment or enemy: time. For every minute that passes from the moment of the attack, the possibilities of survival drop by 10%. This is why, in order to avoid avoidable deaths, more and more easy-to-handle, automatic defibrillators are being designed, sold and installed.

Automatic defibrillators or AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators) have been around now for some ten years. The main elements of these devices are based on algorithms that help undertake a study and diagnosis of the electrical signals from the heart. The defibrillator reads the patients heartbeat and carries out a continuous report of the state of the organ. Once this analysis is completed, it communicates whether or not an electric discharge is necessary, i.e. it will tell if, on applying electro-treatment, the heart will recover its usual pace or not.

In fact, this last was the starting point for researchers at the Department of Electronics and Telecommunications at the Higher Technical Engineering School in Bilbao (the University of the Basque Country - UPV-EHU); i.e. drawing up algorithms for defibrillators designed for adults. In this research, however, they are investigating algorithms that are reliably applicable for children and overcoming that obstacle of time.

AEDs for children

The use of automatic defibrillators for adults is quite widespread. The heartbeat of a child under 8, however, is quite different from that of an adult. What happens when a child suffers a cardiorespiratory arrest" The use of such devices with children has been authorised for some two years now, and the UPV-EHU researchers are focusing on this application.

To this end, it is essential to have a pediatric database, not an easy task given that few children suffer from
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Contact: Irati Kortabitarte
iratik@elhuyar.com
34-943-363-040
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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