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07 June 2023

82 defibrillators deployed across UAE

Part of the training courses that Abu Dhabi Police conducts on operating the device (Supplied)

By Staff

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Interior (MoI) deployed 82 automatic defibrillators in different locations across the UAE with the aim to deal with emergencies and heart failure cases.

A number of community members were trained to operate the defibrillators that were put for use when needed in public places.

Lieutenant Colonel Omar Ahmed Al Dhaheri, Chief of the Training Section at the Emergency and Public Safety Department, at the Central Operations Department in the Abu Dhabi Police said that installing these defibrillators at public places comes in realization of the vision of Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior aiming to train staff members working in public places such as malls, shopping centers, municipality, governmental entities, public parks, etc. in order to save the lives of people who might face cardiac arrests.

Al Dhaheri said that the number of training courses for individuals and staff working at shopping centers and entities reached to 78 courses including 25 refresher courses to enhance their capabilities of using defibrillators when needed, and enable them to instantly handle emergencies and heart failure.

He noted that the refresher courses provide a second chance to promote the practice on how to use the equipment, elevate the level of skills of the public in this regard, and reduce the response time needed in heart failure cases until the arrival of the ambulances.

Lieutenant Colonel Al Dhaheri explained that defibrillators are automatic medical equipment used to treat heart rhythm disorders by electric shocks that end the disorder of the heart’s electrical signals.

He said that defibrillators are used when there are symptoms of circulatory failure in a person with suspected heart failure. The symptoms include fainting, irregular breathing, and a weak or absent pulse.

He said that the training is delivered by qualified experts with international accreditation from the American Heart Association, to empower members of the public of using it when needed, and to raise awareness on the importance of first aid, and to upgrade services according to international standards. He explained that trainees are awarded certificates accredited by the American Heart Association to conduct Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and use defibrillators.

He continued that defibrillators are user-friendly, safe and smart, and they won’t provide electric shocks until they analyze the pulse and heart signals to detect a ventricular fibrillation that requires an electric shock.

He explained that defibrillators are used when the heart does not beat properly, and they include a built-in computer that can identify such cases, and then allow providing an electric shock to restore heart beats.

He noted, “The steps of using the equipment include operating the defibrillator, and following the instructions that are displayed in audio and visual formats. The skills of using the equipment depend on the level of training received.”

Lieutenant Colonel Al Dhaheri said, “The defibrillator detects the cases of sudden cardiac arrest during the fibrillation stage, then it provides an electric shock to stop the fibrillation. The person administrating the treatment has to perform chest compressions to allow the heart beat again and function properly depending on the status of the patient who might be suffering from hereditary and chronic diseases.”

He also mentioned the steps to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation include checking the level of the patient’s consciousness through his sense, speech or sense of pain by pinching him.

He continued, “In case the patient was not responding, the administrator must open the mouth of the patient and ensure that the airway is opened, and must ensure that the patient is still breathing. The defibrillator must then be used if the patients seized to breath or if the heart stopped, by providing an electrical shock, and then continue the resuscitation process by chest compressions.”

Cardiac arrest for four minutes destroys brain cells

The American Heart Association explained that brain cells get destroyed after four minutes of a cardiac arrest. The stop of the blood circulation results in the lack of Oxygen which affects brain cells and may lead to their destruction as they can’t stay without Oxygen for long. A study revealed that every minute of a patient’s life represents 10% of the survival rate. This means that survival rates stand at 90% through the resuscitation in the first minute, and become 50% in the fifth minute, 30% in the seventh, and drop to 4-10% in the 9th – 11th minute.

Notable, a number of 150,000 – 200,000 people are saved annually by using defibrillators in the United States of America. Ventricular fibrillation constitutes 60-80% of total cardiac arrests, and 75% of those cardiac arrest cases take place outside hospitals.