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What if you suffered a heart attack at a mall or an airport?

Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are devices that could save your life in case of a cardiac arrest.

Written by Agencies |Updated : May 22, 2014 1:04 AM IST

Automatic External DefibrillatorsNimit Ahuja, a 35-year old software professional, was shopping at a mall when he suddenly collapsed. He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. He had suffered from what doctors call a sudden cardiac arrest.

Cardiologists say young lives like these can be saved if there are facilities like Automated External Defibrillators (AED) available at public places in India. An AED is a portable device that can automatically diagnose a sudden cardiac arrest and help save life with the press of a button. It sends an electric shock to the heart to restore its normal rhythm and bring a person back from the verge of death.

'An AED, if used during a cardiac arrest within the first 4-6 minutes, can save more than 95 percent of lives,' Bipin Kumar Dubey, director, department of cardiology in the Rockland group of hospitals, told IANS. (Read: Docs save 52-year-old with cardiac arrest)

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'There should be at least one AED available at all public spaces like shopping malls and airports. The government should make it mandatory for builders to set up at least one AED in all public buildings,' he said.

Doctors said Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death and account for greater than 50 percent of cardiovascular deaths in India. More than 660,000 deaths occur every year in India alone as a result of SCA. (Read: Take the natural route to heart health home remedies that work!)

The SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

Experts said people who have heart disease are at a higher risk for SCA. SCA can however happen in people who appear healthy and have no known heart disease or other risk factors like hypertension.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

Ram E. Rajagopalan in the department of critical care medicine in Sundaram Medical Foundation of Chennai said if an AED is used on a patient suffering with a sudden cardiac arrest his chances of survival will grow by more than 60 percent.

'We definitely need the common man to be aware of what an AED is, as anyone anywhere with access to an AED can save a life,' Rajagopalan told IANS.

Lamenting that very few people know how to respond to emergency situations like SCAs in India, Anil Bansal, chief cardiologist at Columbia Asia Hospital in Gurgaon, said people have to be trained to use an AED.

'The need of the hour is to make AED devices available at all public spaces and to train people on how to use them,' he added. (Read: 70% of the urban Indian population at risk of heart disease!)

A recent study in medical journal Lancet said that by 2010, 60 percent of the world's heart patients would be in India.

As per World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, mortality due to cardiac causes has overtaken mortality due to all cancers put together across the world.

Source: IANS

This article is a part of our Heart Health Month initiative.

Know your heart, love your heart

More and more Indians are falling prey to heart disease. There are various reasons for this including a sedentary lifestyle, genetic predisposition, pollution, smoking, drinking, a fatty diet and a general ignorance about what causes heart ailments. However, we at www.thehealthsite.com intend to fight that by covering every aspect of cardiovascular health including diet, expert advice, exercise, natural remedies, diagnosis and treatment, specific heart advice for women and more this month.

Check out ourHeart Health Pagefor more.

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