HeartSine Welcomes HIQA Recommendations for a National Public Access Defibrillation Programme

National scheme needed to reduce 5000 deaths in Ireland each year from Sudden Cardiac Arrest

HeartSine® Technologies has today endorsed the recommendation by the Health Information and Quality Authority for a targeted public access automated external defibrillator (AED) programme to be introduced in Ireland and for the setting up of a registry to identify locations of all existing AED devices throughout the country.

HeartSine is a global leader in the manufacture of AED’s and believes that a public access programme along the lines proposed in the final HIQA report could be a significant turning point in the campaign to reduce the unacceptably high number of deaths that occur from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in Ireland.

Welcoming today’s report, the CEO of HeartSine, Declan O’Mahoney, said “Sudden Cardiac Arrest is killing 5000 people in Ireland every year. When a person suffers an SCA, there is a critical three to five minute window in which CPR and an AED must be used to optimize the chance of survival. After ten minutes, the chance of survival is almost zero. The median response time of emergency services in Ireland is 11 minutes so having a mobile defibrillator to hand is quite literally the difference between life and death for those unlucky enough to be in such a scenario. A targeted national public access defibrillator programme is the key to reducing the unacceptably high numbers of untimely deaths from SCA here every year.

We only now seem to be waking up to the reality of SCA and the toll it takes on the Irish population. We put millions into fire safety, prevention and training every year as a country. We adapt buildings, put in emergency exits, invest in training and maintain fire extinguishers. As a result, only 38 people died in fires last year. If the same collective effort went into dealing with sudden cardiac arrest – we could help offset a significant number of the 5000 deaths every year.

Mr O’Mahoney also welcomed the commitment to establish a national registry aimed at identifying and correcting the gaps in AED coverage in Ireland “There are currently 9000 AEDs in Ireland – but distribution is uneven and certainly uncoordinated with the result that there are many gaps in coverage with busy public areas in towns and cities without any AEDs. A strategically planned programme which placed AEDs in areas of high public footfall and areas of high risk would be the first line of defence in helping reduce the needless deaths that occur every day in Ireland from sudden cardiac arrest.”