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Automated External Defibrillators (AED)


Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death resulting from an abrupt loss of heart function. Sudden death from cardiac arrest is a major health problem that has received much less publicity than heart attack. The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that about 250,000 people die each year of coronary heart disease without ever being hospitalized. That's because about half of all deaths from heart disease - more than 680 Americans each day, are sudden deaths caused by cardiac arrest. The AHA also estimates that more than 50,000 of these lives could be saved if lifesaving Automated External Defibrillators (AED) were more widely available. An AED is a small user-friendly device that recognizes hearth rhythms and if necessary, will advise the user to deliver a shock in order to restore normal heart rhythm. The current national survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest is estimated at only five percent.

Automatic defibrillators allow bystanders to deliver lifesaving shocks minutes earlier than traditional rescuers can arrive on scene. Each minute saved increases the victim's chance of survival by 10%.Since 2001, Houston Airport System (HAS) in conjunction with the Houston Fire Department Emergency Medical Services has been saving lives through the Houston Public Access Defibrillation Program. The HAS has provided

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publicly accessible defibrillators throughout the entire airport system. AED units are strategically placed within a one and a half minute walk from any point in both airports. They are visibly located in cabinets throughout the airport terminals and linked to the City's Emergency Medical Services Systems. Removing an AED from a wall cabinet automatically notifies the Airports' Emergency Communications Center, the Houston Fire Department, the Houston Police Department, and Airport Operators. These professional rescuers are immediately dispatched to the area. In the event of a sudden cardiac arrest, anyone can help by picking up a courtesy phone and alerting the call taker to the exact location and type of emergency medical services.

Implementing the Public Access Defibrillation is just one way the City of Houston is protecting the safety and well being of the many travelers and employees at HAS airports.

David E. Persse, MD FACEP
Physician Director of Emergency Medical Services
City of Houston

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