September is the month that millions of children return to schools across the UK after the summer holidays. Unfortunately, children are not safe from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). SCA strikes at any time without warning and sadly, no one is immune regardless of gender, age, fitness level, ethnicity or geography.
What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
SCA occurs when a person’s heart goes into a life-threatening rhythm known as ventricular fibrillation (VF) and stops pumping blood around the body and to the brain, causing instant unconsciousness. The electrical activity of the heart becomes so chaotic that the heart stops pumping and quivers or ‘fibrillates’ instead.
Without vital treatment of Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of a defibrillator, the chance of survival decreases by 10% per minute. Providing treatment within 3-5 minutes increases the chance of survival from 6% to 74%.
A defibrillator provides the correct and effective treatment to a child through the use of paediatric pads or by a paediatric switch/key that reduces the level of shock delivered to the child. Due to the chest and frame size of a child the placement of the pads is different to an adult. One pad is placed on the centre of the child's chest and the other is placed on the child’s back which will be adjacent to the front pad.
Paediatric electrode pads differ to adult ones as they lower the shock to a safe level of joules for a child when the defibrillator restores their heart back to a normal rhythm. When a situation arises where paediatric electrode pads are not available for a child in SCA, it is advised that adult pads are to be used by following the correct placement for a child (centre of the chest and centre of the back).
Above: Children at Stage Door Dance Academy pose with their donated defibrillator provided by the Charlie Ramsay Research Fund & defibshop.
A defibrillator may include a built-in paediatric switch feature that will automatically adjust the level of the shock at the touch of a button. By using the paediatric switch on a defibrillator, paediatric pads are not required, the pads still need to be placed on the centre of the child's chest and back. By simply pressing a button, switch or inserting a key depending on the device, this will lower the shock level. Having built in paediatric features on a defibrillator allows vital time in a SCA emergency by removing the need to detach and reattach a new set of pads.
Save a Life
Every second counts when responding to a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Knowing how to effectively treat a child who has collapsed as a result of SCA saves valuable time in an emergency and ultimately increases their chance of survival.
defibshop are committed to equipping everyone with the skills and knowledge to save a life. Speak to one of our Product Specialists on 0161 776 7422 or fill out our Contact Form.