The first phase of Saint-Gobain's national AED deployment plan is to install Medtronic's LIFEPAK(R) CR Plus units in its corporate headquarters, two satellite offices and 46 manufacturing plants nationwide.
"By committing to implement our LIFEPAK Heart Safe Solutions, Saint-Gobain has taken the lead in the manufacturing industry when it comes to improving the health and welfare of its employees," said Robert White, president of Medtronic's Emergency Response Systems business unit.
Although not everyone can be saved from sudden cardiac arrest, studies show that early defibrillation can dramatically improve survival rates. LIFEPAK Heart Safe Solutions can help companies decrease overall response time to victims of sudden cardiac arrest. It generally takes six to 12 minutes for the average U.S. emergency medical services (EMS) team to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency. Companies install Medtronic LIFEPAK CR Plus AEDs in their facilities in order to treat employees suffering from sudden cardiac arrest within three to five minutes as is recommended by the American Heart Association. Survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest decrease by about seven to 10 percent every minute defibrillation is delayed.
"We see the implementation of LIFEPAK Heart Safe Solutions as a key component of our workplace safety program," said Martha Bixby, Director of Health Safety and Environment Services, of Saint-Gobain. "We want to do what we can to protect the lives of people in our facilities," she said. According to Bixby, one of the major reasons that Saint-Gobain selected the LIFEPAK Heart Safe Solutions program was because of Medtronic's implementation program and its emphasis on on-going readiness.
In August of 2003, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) surveyed 400 of its members working in major corporations and businesses and found that 34 percent of those who have implemented an AED program have used their AED at least once in order to help save a life. The survey also showed that 66 percent of victims of sudden cardiac arrest in the workplace were successfully revived.
Besides the LIFEPAK CR Plus itself, LIFEPAK Heart Safe Solutions include a site assessment, medical direction, state registration and notification, training, maintenance, and customer support. To purchase an AED, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires the purchaser to consult a physician and secure a prescription for the device. Medtronic also recommends all AED users attend formal CPR/AED training provided by a nationally recognized training center. LIFEPAK Heart Safe Solutions provide companies with information on securing prescriptions and employee training.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 15 percent of work-place fatalities--more than 400 per year--are caused by sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Of these victims, OSHA estimates that 160, or 40 percent, could be saved by defibrillation within five minutes. Every year, SCA strikes up to 450,000 people in the U.S. alone.
SCA is usually caused by an electrical malfunction of the heart called ventricular fibrillation. This is an ineffective quivering of the heart muscle that makes it unable to pump blood through the body. Once the blood stops circulating, a person quickly loses consciousness and the ability to breathe. Defibrillation is the only definitive treatment for this condition.
Unlike the models of defibrillators intended for use by healthcare professionals, AEDs do not require extensive medical knowledge to understand or operate. The expertise needed to analyze the heart's electrical function is programmed into the device, enabling trained non-medical professionals to respond to cardiac emergencies. The fully automatic feature of the LIFEPAK CR Plus means employees never have to push a "shock" button as the unit analyzes and delivers the shock if needed. This feature makes the LIFEPAK CR Plus a preferred AED for businesses.