5 fears you shouldn't have about using a Defibrillator

For every minute that passes following a cardiac arrest, the chances of survival without defibrillation decrease by 10%. Yet a recent 2017 UK YouGov poll showed that a worryingly high 7 out of 10 people would not be confident using a public defibrillator.

Here are 5 of the main fears you really shouldn't have about using a public defibrillator...

1. Fear of the Unknown...

For those that have never been trained to use a defibrillator, or even seen one up close, the thought of grabbing the nearest one and "giving it a go" wouldn't cross their mind. "What if I'm not allowed to use it?", "What if I hurt someone?", "What if I hurt myself?", "I don't know how it works!".

But fear not! Defibrillators are remarkably "intelligent" pieces of equipment that have been designed for ANYONE (that means you!) to use in an emergency situation. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) will actually "talk" to you and guide you through how to use it. It really couldn't be easier!

2. Fear of causing the casualty harm...

The same 2017 YouGov poll showed that huge 62% of people believed a defibrillator would potentially cause a casualty harm.

As previously mentioned, the defibrillator will "decide" when a shock is required. If the casualty's heart is still beating, the defibrillator won't allow a shock even if you push the "shock" button.

3. Fear of being trained...

It may sound odd but a lot of people worry that if they learn how to use a defibrillator, they will be taking on more responsibility that they don't want to shoulder. Others aren't aware that anybody can be trained to use a defibrillator as part of a First Aid course, they assume it can only be used by medical professionals. In actual fact, training isn't a requirement to use a defibrillator (although it is highly preferred). They are available for all bystanders to use when required regardless of training.

If defibrillation is provided within the 1st minute of a cardiac arrest, survival rates increase to 90%.

These views could easily be changed with raised awareness, and education at an early age i.e school. The U.K is a long away behind other European countries (particularly in Scandinavia). In Sweden alone there are approximately 5,151 public defibrillators and 3 million people are trained to administer CPR through mass courses in schools and workplaces (figures from the Defib Shop). The general attitude towards CPR and defibrillation in the UK needs to change dramatically.

4. Fear of being "sued"...

This seems to be a big fear within First Aid in general. With the current blame culture we live in, a large number of people are put off by the thought of being sued by a casualty. This is a big misconception that really holds back the volume of people in the UK that get trained in basic First Aid and using a defibrillator.

Nobody in the UK has ever been sued for attempting CPR. In 2015, the government introduced the ‘Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism (SARAH)’ act to protect those performing “acts of heroism”.

Again, we have to educate from an earlier age to encourage people to provide Basic Life Support and make the above information common knowledge.

5. Fear of leaving the casualty...

Although carrying our CPR whilst someone gets a defibrillator is highly preferable, it is more important to call 999 and provide quick defibrillation if a casualty has stopped breathing. This may mean leaving the casualty to find the closest defibrillator. If defibrillation is provided within the 1st minute of a cardiac arrest, survival rates increase to 90%.

AED's are becoming much more common in public areas such as supermarkets, train stations, shopping centres and airports. You should familiarise yourself with the locations of defibrillators in your local area where possible.

So to finish off, here are a few facts from the Defib Shop regarding CPR & defibrillation that I hope will highlight the importance of facing our fears!

For further information about CPR, First Aid and Defibrillator training courses visit www.lubasmedical.com/product/cpr-open-sessions/

Cardiac Screening for professional cricketers

Why do the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) provide cardiac screening for professional cricketers?

Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) or Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is where the heart goes into AN abnormal rhythm, known as an arrhythmia, suddenly and often without warning. The person affected will drop to the floor, will be unresponsive and will not be breathing, this is known as a cardiac arrest.

SCD/SCA can affect anyone, but there are certain risk factors that increase the chance of it happening, these are: -

In an attempt to identify under laying heart abnormalities and prevent cardiac arrest, the ECB are now providing cardiac screening for all professional cricketers

Who is involved and what do they check when performing a cardiac screening session?

I attended a cardiac screening session performed for Glamorgan County Cricket Club players at the Sophia Gardens Wales stadium in Cardiff.


The screening was carried out by CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) on behalf of the ECB sports science and medicine department.


The screening programme included an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, medical history form and an interview with a Cardiologist.

An(ECG) records the electrical activity of the heart. The heart produces tiny electrical impulses which spread through the heart muscle to make the heart contract. These impulses can be detected by the ECG machine.

The CRY mobile screening health questionnaire is a comprehensive document that asks questions about the players such as, age, ethnicity, smoking status and current medication. The CRY team measure and record the weight, height and blood pressure of all the players.

The questionnaire also asks about any symptoms the players may have during exercise, following exercise or unrelated to exercise such as, 

There are also questions about family history, asking: 

The next section asks if the players have had any cardiac screening previously, have been seen by a cardiologist or have had a diagnosis of a cardiac condition.

The last section of the form asks the players to give information on how much exercise they do in a week, how many hours per day, how many days per week and at what level e.g. professional, international, county, club or recreational.

Marchant De Lange having an echocardiogram 

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound scan of the heart. It is sometimes just called an 'echo'. Ultrasound is a very high-frequency sound that you cannot hear but it can be emitted and detected by the device. The scan can give accurate pictures of the heart muscle, the heart chambers and structures within the heart including the valves.

Marchant De Lange having a consultation with Cardiologist Dr Hamish Maclachlan 

If any abnormalities are detected the player will be referred to the Cardiology unit at St George’s Hospital in London for further testing.

Further testing will also be performed if any family members suffer from heart abnormalities or if the players become symptomatic at any time.

How long does a cardiac screen take?

The cardiac screening at Sophia Gardens Wales took approximately 40 minutes for each player. The team from CRY were able to screen 22 players in total, 13 contracted players and 9 academy players. The players that weren’t screened this year will be picked up next year due to being over 25 and classed as low risk, but also have a recent, valid, ECG.

Who are CRY?

Since its formation in 1995, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) has been working to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD). CRY supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions and offers bereavement support to families affected by YSCD.

CRY promotes and develops heart screening programmes and funds medical research, as well as publishing and distributing medical information written by leading cardiologists for the general public. CRY funds specialist referral, screening and cardiac pathology services at leading UK hospitals.

CRY is a registered charity.

Can anyone have a cardiac screening?

CRY offers subsidised ECG and Echocardiogram screening to all young people between the ages of 14 & 35.

Follow the link below for more information and screening events/locations from CRY.


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