Cardiac arrest - AEDs can make difference

SINGAPORE - It is sad to hear of cases of sudden death among children such as Nur Aisyah Ismail, a Secondary 1 student from Singapore Chinese Girls' School, during morning PE ("I'll never get to hold her hand again", The New Paper, March 7).

A two-year study was carried out at three Chicago airports from June 1, 1999 to May 31, 2001 on the use of AEDs (automated external defibrillators) at these locations. The outcomes revealed that 75 per cent of sudden cardiac arrest victims were saved by the use of AEDs.

Organisations which we have advised on their deployment of on-site AEDs have so far provided a 100 per cent success rate of survival in three cases of sudden cardiac arrests. Two of these lives were saved by the staff of the same organisation eight months apart.

First Aid Corps, a non-profit organisation, has been advocating using citizen volunteers to respond to sudden cardiac arrest victims in residential neighbourhoods, because at least half of such cases occur at home.

The volunteers are expected to respond with home-deployed AEDs because, according to the three-phase resuscitation model, use of the AED in the first four minutes of cardiac arrest is the most critical determinant factor in the survival of the victim.

Our volunteers work in teams and they use a free app called Crowdsav for both iPhone and Android phones to locate the nearest AED.

According to our records, 11 per cent of 851 lives saved were teens. A further 2 per cent of lives saved were in the primary school age group. The percentage of lives saved in all places of learning, from primary school to university, was 18.

All these cases involved the use of AEDs. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) functions as a workaround to the real solution for a cardiac arrest, which is the shock from an AED within the first four minutes.

Most of the lives saved needed only one shock, some needed two or more.

CPR and AED education needs to start at an early age.

There are parts of the US where lawmakers are looking at or passing bills which mandate successful completion of instruction in CPR a requirement for high school graduation.

Studies have also shown that teens are able to use AEDs nearly as well as trained paramedics.

A search on YouTube for "1+ Year Old Child using AED to Save Life" shows one is never too young to learn how to use this device.


Every death from sudden primary cardiac arrest is one too many, especially for children whom the Government considers precious to build up the Singapore core.

Success is achievable only by the combined efforts of the Ministry of Education, school administrators, teachers and parents, to keep every family intact.

Get The New Paper for more stories.