A Defibrillator for the village
An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a potentially life-saving device, designed to be simple to use by a layperson by providing simple audio and visual instructions regarding its own use. In the event of a suspected "heart attack", an AED can automatically detect a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia that will lead to cardiac arrest and, where appropriate, is able to treat this by defibrillation - the application of an electrical shock which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm. In these types of “shockable” cardiac arrhythmia, the heart is electrically active, but in a dysfunctional pattern that prevents it pumping and circulating blood; uncorrected, such an arrhythmia will rapidly lead to irreversible brain/tissue damage and ultimately death.
An AED is not designed to shock asystole (the absence of any cardiac electrical activity, or “flatlining”): an asystolic patient has a chance of survival only if, through a combination of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and cardiac stimulant drugs, one of the “shockable” rhythms can be established. This makes it imperative that CPR be commenced, and the emergency services contacted, as the first priority, prior to the arrival of a defibrillator.
With the aid of several grants, local donations and fundraising events, Little Wolford Parish Meeting has now acquired a public-access AED, installed in a suitable cabinet outside the Village Hall and managed by the Community Heartbeat Trust.