UCA has new weapon for fighting cardiac arrest

On May 12, 2001, Maj. Glenn Stacks of the UCA Police Department used CPR to resuscitate an elderly man who had taken ill at one of the commencement ceremonies. The man was revived, but for some victims, CPR is not enough.

Today, Stacks has a new weapon for fighting cardiac arrest ? an Automated External Defibrillator. In July, the university purchased three of the briefcase-sized portable lifesavers.

?Every minute that a cardiac arrest victim goes untreated, their chances of survival drop by 10 percent,? Stacks said. ?Starting defibrillation in the first couple of minutes, long before EMT?s can arrive, significantly increases a victim?s chance of survival.?

The three Powerheart AEDs, made by Cardiac Science, were purchased for $1,700 each, which is a median price for the machines. ?Cardiac Science offered the best product for the price,? Stacks said.

The machines are unique because they self-test the batteries, pads and other mechanisms. They also will determine a patient?s heart rhythm and judge when defibrillation is needed and then administer the shock.

Though everyone at the university who might use the machines has to be trained annually, Stacks said virtually anyone could use an AED because it has an automated system that takes individuals through the proper steps for use. It also has a small display screen that prints the instructions for the hearing-impaired.

Two of the machines are housed in the UCAPD, and the third machine is at the Health, Physical Education, Recreation Center.

?We decided to put one of the units in the HPER Center because of the amount of physical activity being done over there by people of all ages,? Stacks said.

All staff and students working in the HPER Center are trained by either the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association to do CPR and to use the AED.

?We also do training on the specific AED in our center,? said Dave Dennis, director of the HPER Center. ?There?s several different models on the market, and we want to be sure everyone knows how to work the model we have.?

Dennis said that in the three years the HPER Center has been open, there has not been an incident that would warrant the use of an AED, but ?it?s best to be prepared.?

-Jennifer Boyett