Sudden Cardiac Death Engineering Solutions

831 words - 3 pages

Sudden Cardiac Deaths - Engineering Solutions Abdallah El-Falou
UDDEN Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is one of the greatest causes Sof death and can strike an individual at any time or place, whether or not they have a diagnosed heart condition. SCA occurs because of Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) [1], a type of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). CVD is caused by disorders of the heart and blood vessels and mainly affects people of age greater than 65 [2][3]. CVD is mainly diagnosed using the electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure and record electrical activity of the heart from the body surface. However, since ECG recording sessions are usually brief, rare symptoms are
easily and often missed [3].
Defibrillators have developed greatly since the 1950s, when defibrillation of the heart was performed as a major open chest surgery. In time to come, defibrillation technology was greatly improved. Manual External Defibrillators (MED) used by medical practitioners could be used in a less invasive manner, eliminating the need for open chest surgery. However, due to the nature of CVD, chances of treating CVD successfully fall greatly by the minute, and therefore a quicker, easier tool was needed to treat patients immediately, before any medical practitioner can reach the site [1].
Automated External Defibrillators (AED) were the solution to such problems. AED simplified the treatment by providing a basic portable defibrillator that can be used by untrained non-medical personnel such as policemen, security guards, flight attendants and the general public. Audible and/or visible instructions guide the operator through the process, while a microprocessor inside the defibrillator automatically analyzes the patient’s heart condition and advises the operator whether a shock is needed based on sophisticated software algorithms [1].
The most important key factor in resuscitation during SCA is early defibrillation, and that is precisely where AED is superior to MED. It should be noted, however, that MED is superior in all other key factors. The accuracy of AED’s automatic detection of VF was found to be between 76% to 96%, as opposed to the conventional MED where trained medical personnel would interpret ECG diagrams. In addition, AED is slower at delivering the shock, and offers much less flexibility. MED can be used to treat various other cardiac arrests as well [1].
On a different note, some have taken a different approach to attempt to solve SCA: prevention and early detection. This was done by designing a system based on Information Technologies (IT) and wearable technologies for the
continuous assessment of CVD progression, as well as to motivate patients to acquire an active...

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