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Heart Attack Revival

by msecadm4921

In London, Wandsworth Council’s parks police have become the first organisation of its kind in London to have trained officers and equipment on call to revive heart attack victims.

The parks police have teamed up with the London Ambulance Service (LAS) to provide defibrillator treatment to people who have suffered heart attacks. A total of 31 officers in the parks police, plus some backroom staff, are now trained in the use of defibrillators. The officers have permanent access to four of these life saving machines – three donated by the LAS. Two of the machines will be permanently based in Battersea Park – the busiest of all the borough’s parks and open spaces – and visited by around four million people a year.

The two other machines will be in parks police patrol cars so that they can used to treat emergencies elsewhere in the borough. Around 24 million visits are made to all of the borough’s parks and open spaces each year. Around 12,000 people in the UK suffer a sudden heart attack in a public place each year and research has shown that rapid treatment with a defibrillator can mean the difference between life and death. The most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation – a rapid, chaotic, lethal rhythm of the heart. In this condition the heart is unable to pump life-sustaining oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. Death occurs within minutes unless the normal rhythm is restored by defibrillation, which is the only treatment that can restart the heart and restore a normal rhythm in these circumstances.

How they work

Defibrillators work by delivering a controlled electric shock through the chest wall to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat. The machines being used by the parks police are automated external defibrillators (AEDs). These are small, lightweight and simple to use with two electronic pads that are applied to the patient. The defibrillator guides the operator step-by-step through the resuscitation process, recording and analysing the heart’s rhythm. It instructs the user to deliver the shock using clear voice prompts and displayed messages, minimising any risk of the patient being shocked inappropriately.

What they say

The medical director of the London Ambulance Service Dr Fionna Moore said: "The availability of this life-saving equipment gives anyone who collapses a better chance of survival and so we are very pleased to be taking on a more direct role in the programme through the training and management of the sites in our area."

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