Emergency centres lack defibrillator knowledge

Louw, Pauline ; Maritz, David ; Wallis, Lee (2010-07)

The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za


In the emergency centre (EC), a number of essential items of equipment are needed to manage a wide variety of acute life-threatening emergencies. Their correct use depends heavily on the training and experience of personnel. The defibrillator is part of this essential equipment and should be available in all ECs. Although defibrillators are widely available in Western Cape ECs, it is not known whether public sector EC personnel have the knowledge and skills necessary to use them safely and effectively. Most cardiac arrests in adult patients are due to ventricular fibrillation (VF) or cardiac-related causes, and early defibrillation improves survival of such patients1,2 and is therefore an important part of their immediate treatment (combined with the other links of the chain of survival for both in- and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest).

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