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TODAY news for Thursday, August 24, 2006

Loma Linda University Medical Center news

Automated external defibrillators save lives at Loma Linda University and LLU Medical Center

Sam Chafin’s encounter with an automated external defibrillator (AED) is just one of 11 lives saved since September 2004 and the initial roll-out of AEDs on the campuses of Loma Linda University and LLU Medical Center.

Dale Isaeff, MD, director of the coronary intensive care unit at Loma Linda University Medical Center, championed the AEDs and worked diligently to see them appear on campus. “It’s a very simple device,” says Dr. Isaeff of the AED. “You turn it on and it tells you exactly what to do.

“It takes a stressful situation and walks you through the entire process until the code blue team gets there or the paramedics arrive,” he continues. “The Medical Center sponsored the first AEDs on campus, and we now have 13 of them.”

The code blue team purchased the HeartStart FR2+ from Philips due to its simplicity of use. Sudden cardiac arrest affects 340,000 people each year in the United States alone, and fewer than 5 percent survive, largely because defibrillators do not get to them in time. For each minute that passes before delivering defibrillation therapy, the chance of survival decreases by about 7 to 10 percent. The FR2+ can help users make more refined treatment decisions for each patient. Once a heart rhythm is determined to warrant a shock, the FR2+ further analyzes key characteristics of the patient’s heart rhythm and suggests an initial treatment—either a shock or CPR followed by a shock. The FR2+ automatically adjusts its protocol and voice prompts accordingly.

“We have become proactive champions of a proven methodology,” says Dr. Isaeff. “This is not a gimmick. This is very ‘low tech,’ yet it is innovative and it saves a life.”

A data card located inside the FR2+ records the patient’s heart rhythm and defibrillator use. This produces a variety of reports from each event which Dr. Isaeff reviews.

“From seeing Mr. Chafin’s line, in my opinion, he would not have survived without defibrillation,” says Dr. Isaeff.

This AED weighs just under 5 pounds fully equipped and has a simple 1-2-3 operation, with text and voice prompts that can be used on anyone of any age, including infants and children.

Kelly Lumen, code blue process coordinator for Loma Linda University Medical Center, keeps track of all AEDs on the LLUAHSC campuses.

“It’s really one touch life saving,” says Ms. Lumen. “Even a 2-year-old could use it. The system makes the decision.”

Besides maintenance, Ms. Lumen also provides training for units and areas that have the AED installed. With a limited number of code blue carts, the AEDs provide the quickest time to shock. The FR2+ model uses a biphasic current of 150 joules for adult patients and 50 joules for pediatric patients.

“For simplicity’s sake, and for the quickest time to shock, we use the same model all across campus,” says Dr. Isaeff.

He adds,“We believe very strongly that if Loma Linda is going to be a medical community, we need to do the right thing.”

All one has to do is talk to Sam Chafin to know that providing these AEDs is the right thing to do to save even more lives.

By Preston Smith

TODAY news for Thursday, August 24, 2006