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Less than 1 in 3 Toronto bystanders who witness a cardiac arrest try to help: Study
Date:11/6/2009

al treatment of cardiac arrest and life threatening emergencies.

The trial included Peel EMS, Peel Fire Brampton, Peel Fire Mississauga, Muskoka EMS, Toronto EMS, Toronto Fire, Durham (Ajax Fire, Brock Fire, Clarington Fire, Oshawa Fire, Pickering Fire, Scugog Fire, Uxbridge Fire and Whitby Fire) and Halton.

The study looked at the impact of bystanders using Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). An AED is a portable electronic device that treats life threatening cardiac rhythms through electrical therapy, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm. The researchers found that AEDs used in casinos and airports demonstrated an unprecedented survival rate of 50 per cent or greater. The study found that the use of AEDs in Toronto to be very low. Only one per cent of cardiac arrest victims had an AED applied to their chest.

Although more than an estimated 1,800 AEDs are in public places in Toronto and adjacent cities, the study found only 750 of the devices were registered with Toronto EMS. This is problematic when a 911 dispatcher cannot alert a bystander or EMS person that an AED is close by. In times of an emergency the dispatcher can be an effective coach for bystanders to help others.

Even with a 911 dispatcher talking them through the process, many bystanders do not feel comfortable doing CPR or using an AED. Minimal training is required and people can learn CPR or how to use an AED in an emergency by listening to the dispatcher's coaching until paramedics and fire fighters arrive.

"You can learn CPR in 20 minutes with a personal learning kit available through the Heart and Stroke Foundation website (www.heartandstroke.ca/restart) or by simply watching a video on Youtube," explains Dr. Morrison. "I believe that we should be teaching CPR and AED use in all schools so that helping someone in cardiac arrest is a learned behaviour. You may never need to use y
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Contact: Julie Saccone
sacconej@smh.toronto.on.ca
416-864-5047
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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