How charitable giving is bringing help directly to patients during cardiac arrest

According to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, survival from cardiac arrest incidents doubled when a bystander stepped in to apply an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) before emergency responders arrived. Researchers analyzed almost 50,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and found that the survival rate doubled among patients who received an AED shock by a bystander. The study also found that the longer it takes for responders to arrive, the greater a patient benefits from a bystander-administered AED shock.


An AED is a portable medical device used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. It can analyze the heart's rhythm and deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm. With simple audio and visual commands, AEDs are designed to be simple to use for the average person. Aurora Health Care Foundation’s When Minutes Matter campaign sought to capitalize on this research. This year, we were able to implement two more of the five main campaign components by placing AEDs in the community, and training donation recipients in CPR and AED use. This was only possible because of generous donors who choose to make a difference and help save lives in their community.


Twenty-five AEDs were purchased through funds raised in the campaign, with a goal of placing them with not-for profit organizations in Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties that have a large public access presence. To date, Aurora Regional EMS Office educators have placed 23 of the 25 AEDs with training, with the rest scheduled in the first quarter of 2019.


American Heart Association senior study author, Myron Weisfeldt, MD, stated, “We estimate that about 1,700 lives are saved in the United States per year by bystanders using an AED.”


Unfortunately, not enough Americans know to look for AEDs in public locations, nor are they trained on how to use them, despite great and effective efforts of the American Heart Association.


That is one of the reasons this implementation has been paired with a crowd-sourcing phone app called PulsePoint AED. We want to give those who step up to help an individual with Sudden Cardiac Arrest a way to identify the nearest AED. According to the PulsePoint Foundation, with the free PulsePoint AED app, citizens can help even before a life is in danger by easily identifying public access AEDs throughout their community. Users can place the AED location on a map, add business and descriptor information and submit photos of the AED in context of its environment.


With the implementation of all aspects of the When Minutes Matter campaign, we are confident cardiac arrest survival rates will improve in our communities. We are truly grateful for those who gave to this campaign and are transforming care in their community.


First responders participate in emergency training in Grafton.

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