20 January 2000

A Shock to the System

by Kate Melville

Those of our regular readers will remember a story we did late last year on portable defibrillators, those nifty little devices to restart heats that you always see on ER, when someone says "Clear", and then gives the patient a big zap of electricity.

Well the question has been raised, are defibrillators the best way to re-start a heart?

Well in a new study with study involving 700 patients at 85 hospitals showed that implantable defibrillators, tiny portable 'shockers' that stun a heart back into a regular rhythm, reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death in high-risk patients with coronary disease.

The press release for this story was pretty scant, but we presume they mean that these are different from the mobile systems now being introduced that are simple enough for kids to use them (they proved almost as quick as trained emergency medical personnel).

So while these tiny defibrillators outperformed medicines in warding off cardiac arrest, we would suggest that for those of you not in a high risk category, stick to the pills and make sure your friends know CPR!

Editors Note;

CRP training is great, but when my wife had completed this as part of a company first aid course I said (sprawling on the floor) "So what do you do now"?. "No idea", she said, "the thing we learned on was always laid flat on it's back"!