Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts August 2000
Short Cuts:HEALTH BEAT
Those who suffer heart attacks in flight had better hope they’re
traveling with one of the eight U.S. airlines that equips its
planes with automatic external defibrillators (AEDs).
Eight airlines now carry the lifesaving devices: Alaska,
American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, United and US
Airways. But the Federal Aviation Administration has proposed that
all U.S. airlines be required to have AEDs onboard and train flight
attendants in their use. A ruling is expected by year-end.
Sudden cardiac arrest kills 350,000 people every year. Of those,
70 percent suffer from ventricular fibrillation (VF), in which the
heart suddenly starts beating very rapidly. Shocking the heart back
into a regular rhythm with an AED is the only hope in cases of VF.
This must occur within a few minutes, or the sufferer will likely
Emergency medical help is often more than 10 minutes away
arriving too late to save lives. In fact, as few as five percent of
those who experience sudden cardiac arrest outside of the hospital
survive, according to national estimates. Wide public availability
of AEDs could prevent up to 50,000 deaths each year, according to
the American Heart Association.
LOREN G. EDELSTEIN
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