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American Heart Association Survey Reveals Americans Lack Confidence in Lifesaving Skills for Common Cardiac Emergency

DALLAS, May 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Most Americans don't believe they could perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help save a life in a cardiac emergency, according to a recent American Heart Association survey.

In an online survey of more than 1,100 adults, 89 percent said they were willing and able to do something to help if they witnessed a medical emergency. Yet only 21 percent were confident they could perform CPR, and only 15 percent believed they could use an AED in an emergency. More than half of those surveyed didn't recognize an AED in a typical setting. Survey respondents reported lack of confidence, concern about legal consequences and fear of hurting a victim as reasons they would not take action in a cardiac emergency.

The American Heart Association released the survey results as part of the inaugural National CPR/AED Awareness Week, June 1-7. The intent of the week is to encourage the public to get CPR training and learn how to use an AED to reduce death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

Unfortunately, only about six percent of out-of-hospital SCA victims survive. Without immediate, effective CPR, the chance of surviving out-of-hospital SCA decreases seven to 10 percent per minute. Even if CPR is performed, defibrillation with an AED is required to stop the abnormal rhythm and restore a normal heart rhythm.

"We think it's critical for people to get CPR training and learn how to use an AED," said Lance Becker, M.D., professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and spokesperson for the American Heart Association. "CPR and AED use are inextricably linked in the SCA survival chain, and it's crucial that bystanders take rapid action. If more people are trained and respond, we can save thousands more lives."

The American Heart Association provides classroom CPR and AED instruction, as well as a self-paced CPR Anytime Kit that includes an inflatable manikin and instructional DVD. The association's adult Hands-OnlyTM CPR educates untrained people to call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast on the center of an adult SCA victim's chest until help arrives.

Designed to be simple and intuitive, AEDs are available in many public places such as schools, airports and workplaces and will guide the user through the process with clear, calm voice cues. The devices are strategically deployed and maintained to ensure that they are ready in a medical emergency, and will not deliver a shock unless a shockable rhythm is detected.

"There's no reason for people to be afraid to act," Becker said. "We want people to feel confident that whatever action they choose -- whether using an AED or performing conventional CPR or adult Hands-Only CPR -- they are doing something to help, which could be a lifesaving decision."

SCA survivor Jenifer Fergusson knows first hand about the importance of people taking action. The New York native suffered an SCA at work when two coworkers immediately came to her aid. Due to their quick actions, Jenifer survived her cardiac event.

"My coworkers are true heroes," she said. "I'm so grateful they had the skills and courage to perform CPR and use a defibrillator when I went into cardiac arrest. Thankfully, my company had an AED onsite. If my colleagues hadn't acted or the AED was not available, I might not be here today."

Other results from the survey include:

-- Sixty-five percent said they had received CPR training, but only 18

percent reported having received AED training.

-- Two-thirds of those trained in using CPR and AEDs were required to for

their jobs, school or the military.

-- Respondents' reasons for not getting trained included not thinking

about it or not being required.

-- Most respondents (89 percent) believe that providers of adult day care

should be trained in using CPR and AEDs. Most (86 percent) also want

training for child care workers.

-- The majority (88 percent) of people surveyed support requiring schools

to have emergency plans, and 65 percent want public places to have AEDs

on site.

Philips Healthcare sponsored the survey to raise awareness of CPR and AEDs.

For more information about the survey results and National CPR/AED Awareness Week, visit or call 1-877-AHA-4CPR.

Editor's Note: For full survey results, go to

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. These diseases, America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases claim nearly 870,000 lives a year. In fiscal year 2006-07 the association invested more than $554 million in research, professional and public education, advocacy and community service programs to help all Americans live longer, healthier lives. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit

About Royal Philips Electronics

Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a global leader in healthcare, lighting and consumer lifestyle, delivering people-centric, innovative products, services and solutions through the brand promise of "sense and simplicity". Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips employs approximately 134,200 employees in more than 60 countries worldwide. With sales of USD 42.5 billion (EUR 27 billion) in 2007, the company is a market leader in medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring systems, energy efficient lighting solutions, as well as lifestyle solutions for personal wellbeing. News from Philips is located at

May 28, 2008

How to Improve Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survival Addendum to Media Release

National CPR/AED Awareness Week

People who could benefit from CPR training and/or how to use an AED:

-- Parents

-- Pool owners

-- People with family members who have a history of heart-related medical


-- People who live in high density areas (traffic and other factors could

impede emergency responders' timely arrival on the scene)

-- People who live in rural areas (emergency responders may have to travel

a long distance to reach the scene)

-- Anyone who is a potential bystander

Things a caregiver could do to prepare for an emergency cardiac situation:

-- Get CPR training

-- Learn how to use an AED

-- Ask if places where you and your family spend time, like the gym,

daycare and the workplace train their employees in CPR and have an AED


-- Make sure you know where the AED is at those locations, so you are

prepared for an emergency

-- Update your training so you get skills practice

Things a company could do to be prepared for an emergency cardiac situation:

-- Have an emergency action plan in place

-- Practice your emergency action plane

-- Train employees in CPR

-- Have an AED onsite

-- Train employees to use an AED

National CPR/AED Awareness Week

Fact Sheet

Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

-- Each year, about 310,000 coronary heart disease deaths occur

out-of-hospital or in emergency departments in the United States. Of

those deaths, about 166,200 are due to sudden cardiac arrest - nearly

450 per day.

-- Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. Many victims

appear healthy with no known heart disease or other risk factors.

-- Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. Sudden cardiac

arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or

chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. A heart attack

occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is blocked. A

heart attack may cause cardiac arrest.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

-- Less than one-third of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest victims

receive bystander CPR.

-- Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac

arrest, can double or triple a victim's chance of survival.

-- The American Heart Association trains more than 10 million people in CPR

annually, including health professionals and members of the general


-- The most effective rate for chest compressions is 100 compressions per

minute - the same rhythm as the beat of the BeeGee's song,

"Stayin' Alive."

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)

-- Unless CPR and defibrillation are provided within minutes of collapse,

few attempts at resuscitation are successful.

-- Even if CPR is performed, defibrillation with an AED is required to stop

the abnormal rhythm and restore a normal heart rhythm.

-- New technology has made AEDs simple and user-friendly. Clear audio and

visual cues tell users what to do when using an AED and coach people

through CPR. A shock is delivered only if the victim needs it.

-- AEDs are now widely available in public places such as schools, airports

and workplaces.

CPR/AED Awareness Survey

-- Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they were willing and able to do

something to help if they witnessed a medical emergency.

-- Few Americans (12%-20%) are confident that they would know when it is

appropriate to perform CPR or use an AED.

-- At most, roughly four in ten are extremely or very likely to perform CPR

on an adult (39%) or child (37%) they know personally.

-- Less than 17 percent of Americans believe they are at risk for sudden

cardiac arrest.

-- The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris

Interactive on behalf of the American Heart Association between January

8, 2008 and January 21, 2008 among 1,132 U.S. residents aged 18 and


Public Policy for CPR/AEDs

-- The American Heart Association supports state public policy initiatives


-- Promote the access and use of AEDs and establish quality AED

programs in high-risk locations

-- Encourage bystander CPR and CPR training for professionals who may

need to respond to medical emergencies

-- Promote increased quality and appropriate use of 9-1-1 systems

-- Extend Good Samaritan legal liability protection to all users of


-- The American Heart Association also supports increased funding for the

Rural and Community Access to Emergency Devices Program, which gives

communities funding to place automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in

rural areas and trains lay rescuers and first responders to use AEDs.

SOURCE American Heart Association
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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