Help on hand for heart attack victims

A new system to identify the location of the nearest defibrillator could help save the lives of heart attack victims.

The Cayman Heart Fund has joined forces with the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority and Atrus to launch a National Automatic External Defibrillator Registry, designed to help improve sudden cardiac arrest survival rates by helping to rapidly link AEDs, AED users and heart attack victims.

This will enable 911 emergency to quickly locate the nearest AED machine to assist the victim.

“For a victim of sudden cardiac arrest, the presence of an AED machine can mean the difference between life or death,” said Dr. Sook Yin, medical director of the Cayman Heart Fund.

For every 10 minutes a heart attack victim goes without immediate heart recovery, the chances of survival reduce by 10 per cent.

The Cayman Heart Fund is urging local businesses and organisations to install AEDs and to train its staff to use the life-saving devices. It imports the equipment and sells it to companies and offers training for free on the use of the devices.

One of the organisations that recently installed defibrillators is the Port Authority of Cayman Islands which has placed four AEDs at its offices to ensure safety and provide accessibility for rescuers in the event of an individual suffering a heart attack.

“We are very pleased to partner with the Cayman Heart Fund on this initiative. Every precaution taken is a step in the right direction,” said Rodney Watler, site and safety officer for the Port Authority.

The Port Authority installed the AEDs at its Cargo Distribution Centre warehouse at 126A Portland Road; at the Cayman Brac Port Authority at 385 Creek Road; the Royal Watler cruise terminal at 45A Harbour Drive, and the Spotts cruise terminal.

With the quick response of a rescuer and accessibility of an AED unit, a victim of cardiac arrest’s survival rate can substantially increase compared to just using CPR. The defibrillator machine assists to restart a normal heart rhythm by administering a brief, controlled, electric shock in the minutes before heart arrhythmia causes death. These user-friendly devices provide clear, audible, textual and visual instructions that walk the rescuer through the process even without previous training.

Other businesses that have installed defibrillators in association with the Cayman Heart Fund include Pure Healthcare, AON Risk Solutions, Maples and Calder, RBS Coutts, Smile Dental Clinic, Water Authority (Cayman), The Westin, Heart Health Centre, The Sovereign, Cayman Physio, Caledonia Bank, Cayman Club, A.L. Thompson, Public Works Department (Cayman), and Cayman Island Tourism Department.

The Cayman Heart Fund is continuing to appeal to businesses, schools, homeowners, and public entities in the effort to prepare, prevent, and protect the Cayman Islands from the risks of cardiovascular disease.

Anyone who wants to purchase an AED from the Cayman Heart Fund for $1,800 per machine, including installation, should call 916-6324. Training in the use of AEDs will be offered free to those who purchase the devices from the Cayman Heart Fund. Basic Life Support and Life Safer training is also offered in conjunction with St. Matthew’s University for $60 per person.

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