Royal Philips recently announced the 20th anniversary and 1.5 millionth sale of its HeartStart line of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), the first AED designed for the layperson. With these milestones, the company is launching a campaign aimed at raising awareness around the prevalence of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), with the goal of educating people about using AEDs and how they can lead the way to save a life.
Approximately 420,000 people experience emergency medical services-assessed out-of-hospital non-traumatic SCAs each year in the United States and 275,000 in Europe. When bystanders intervene by giving CPR and using AEDs, however, four out of 10 victims survive. CPR may extend a victim’s life temporarily, but it alone cannot save the majority of SCA victims. Through its campaign, Philips aims to engage medical experts and survivors of cardiac arrest to move past one of the biggest barriers today: giving the average person the confidence to use an AED in an emergency.
“Today’s AEDs couldn’t be easier to use—you open the box and the device talks you through the steps—yet, despite this, people are still hesitant to intervene when they witness someone experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest episode,” says Joe Frassica, chief medical and innovation officer, Philips and chief science officer, Philips Research North America.
“We need to ensure that people know what AEDs are, how to use them and understand that they can, in fact, be used by anyone. Those moments between someone’s heart stopping and when the emergency responders get to the scene are crucial. For every additional person equipped with the knowledge and confidence to intervene with an AED, there is potential for another life saved,” Frassica adds.
In 2015, HeartStart defibrillators were on board 80% of major US airlines, dozens of regional airlines and many of the largest international carriers. HeartStart can also be found in US airports, one of the largest bus and coach producers in Europe, 43 professional sports teams, and 85% of Fortune 500 companies.
Philips launched its first public access AED, Forerunner by Heartstream, in 1996.