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Sudden cardiac arrest How can we improve results of resuscitation?

Hein J. Wellens
Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, The Netherlands
[Applied Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology 16: 127-132, 2012]


Death from heart disease has continued to diminish during the last two decades, but still half of those deaths are sudden, often occurring unexpectedly outside hospital, claiming at least 250.000 lives in Europe each year. What can we do to prevent this from happening and how can we successfully resuscitate the victim?
When an arrhythmic sudden death occurs outside the hospital, the only chance for survival is recognition of the situation by a witness, the start of cardiac massage and a call to bring  a defibrillator and experienced people to the scene as soon as possible. Increasing the number of people trained in resuscitation, and the density of the automatic external defibrillator in the community are important factors to increase the success rate of the resuscitation attempt. However, a real breakthrough requires the development of a device that recognizes cardiac arrest,  sounds an alarm, and transmits the location of the victim, thereby shortening the time interval of the different steps in the chain of survival.

Key words: cardiac arrest, resuscitation, sudden death

Correspondence address:
Hein J. Wellens, M.D.
Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht
21 Henric van Veldekeplein
6211 TG Maastricht
The Netherlands
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