Showing they have their heart in the right place, County Durham
& Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has 30 automated external
defibrillators (AEDs) to donate and wants to hear from community
groups and venues that might benefit from having one of these
life-saving devises close by.
Sudden cardiac arrest is an important cause of death in all
developed western countries. In the UK there are likely to be
approximately 60,000 cases annually. In England, the ambulance
service attempts resuscitation in approximately 25,000 cases per
annum but, at present, sadly, only a small proportion of these
people survive. The major factor limiting the number of
people who survive sudden cardiac arrest is the ability to provide
defibrillation within a critical time. Every minute that passes,
the victim's chance of survival falls by around 7 - 10%.
AED's provide a high energy electric shock to restore the
heart's normal rhythm. They are easy to use, compact,
portable and very effective. They are designed to be used by lay
persons; the machines guide the operator through the process by
verbal instructions and visual prompts. They are safe and will not
allow a shock to be given unless the heart's rhythm requires
Following a routine upgrade of the trust's defibrillators, Tracy
Storey and Danielle Walker, from the Cardiac Arrest Prevention
Team, saw an opportunity to benefit the local community. Tracy
says, "Within healthcare settings, it's important to have the
latest equipment. But the AED's we're giving away are in
excellent working order and have been fully maintained."
"The beauty of automated external defibrillators is that they're
designed for anyone to use, no medical knowledge is
necessary. You switch it on and not only does an automated
voice talk you through what to do, but pictures demonstrating how
to use the machine also come up on a small screen.
"The most important thing is to have a defibrillator close by
when a sudden cardiac arrest happens, and that's where we come
Danielle, adds, "We want to hear from local organisations or
venues that are a focus for their community so that as many people
as possible can potentially benefit from having a life-saving
defibrillator nearby. For example, a well-used village
hall would be a perfect location. AED's can also be
positioned in secure boxes specially designed for this purpose, on
external walls, for easy access. The box can be opened with a
code or remotely by phoning a designated number and we are happy to
offer advice on this."
Tracy says, "AED's are lightweight, easy to carry devices, which
can be saving a life within minutes.
"Danielle and I are happy to come along to demonstrate how to
use the defibrillators and also deliver training in basic
cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). We are both passionate
about sharing our knowledge and understand the difference having
this skill can make when the stakes are so high and action has to
be taken instantly."
Darlington Woodland Bowling Club has recently received one of
the AED's. Club Secretary, Tom Vout, said, "We have
approximately 70 players and a further 90 social members, the
majority of whom are over 65. We have a very busy programme
of activity throughout the year, including home matches against
other clubs, so there are often a lot of people at the club.
Having this defibrillator on site gives us the peace of mind that
in the event of the unthinkable happening, we can take immediate
action. We are very grateful to the Trust for its
Clubs and other organisations interested in having one of the
defibrillators should email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone: 0191 3332829 or 01325 743533.
'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been
excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very
thankful and relieved patient'.
Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital
of North Durham