“Congress makes the following findings:
Over 700 lives are lost every day to sudden cardiac arrest in the United States alone.
Two out of every three sudden cardiac deaths occur before a victim can reach a hospital.
More than 95 percent of these cardiac arrest victims will die, many because of lack of readily available life saving medical equipment.
With current medical technology, up to 30 percent of cardiac arrest victims could be saved if victims had access to immediate medical response, including defibrillation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Once a victim has suffered a cardiac arrest, every minute that passes before returning the heart to a normal rhythm decreases the chance of survival by 10 percent.
Most cardiac arrests are caused by abnormal heart rhythms called ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions, causing a chaotic rhythm that prevents the heart from pumping oxygen to the victim’s brain and body.
Communities that have implemented programs ensuring widespread public access to defibrillators, combined with appropriate training, maintenance, and coordination with local emergency medical systems, have dramatically improved the survival rates from cardiac arrest.
Automated external defibrillator devices
have been demonstrated to be safe and effective, even when used by lay people, since the devices are designed not to allow a user to administer a shock until after the device has analyzed a victim’s heart rhythm and determined that an electric shock is required.