The Catholic University of America

 Defibrillator Program

The Catholic University of America Defibrillator Program provides access to Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) and increases their availability in our community in the event of an emergency. There are currently 13 Automated External Defibrillator units dispersed throughout the CUA campus community.

 There are 11 stationary units distributed based on proximity and possible need to deploy. Stationary units are strategically placed at the following locations:

DuFour - 3 units

Pryzbyla Center

Mullen Library

Leahy Hall

Fitness Center

Nursing Biology

Father O’Connell

McMahon Hall

Power Plant

Public Safety - Mobile 1

Public Safety - Mobile 2

 

 Two devices function as mobilized units which are to be used by DPS personnel during all shifts- available 24/7, should the need arise. This option allows the university to provide coverage in other locations quickly and without incurring unnecessary additional expense.

The CUA Defibrillator Program has been a functional part of the university emergency response preparation since 2010. The concept was initiated by local and national first responders to address the increasing incidences of sudden cardiac arrest in our country. It was designed to allow laymen to successfully assist with SCA in the interim arrival of responding certified medical technicians and practitioners.  

 The program medical oversight is provided by Dr. Neal Sikka and the George Washington University / MFA Department of Emergency Medicine. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety manages this program and because of this partnership we are able to provide a wide range of AED products and services which include an AED Usage Event Review Program / Facility Oversight / AED Accessory Equipment Replacement and Unit Upgrades.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), commonly known as massive heart attack, kills more than 450,000 Americans each year, making it the #1 health care problem and leading cause of death in the United States. This is equivalent to the entire population of the cities of Sacramento, Kansas City, or Atlanta being wiped out in one year - nearly one death every minute! Breast cancer, stroke, and AIDS claim fewer lives combined.

In SCA, the heart suddenly stops beating normally. The electrical impulses that control the rhythm of the heart become so disorganized that the heart begins to quiver and can no longer effectively pump oxygenated blood to the brain and the body's vital organs, and death occurs within minutes. CPR cannot reverse ventricular fibrillation (VF), the chaotic cardiac rhythm most often seen in SCA victims; prompt external defibrillation is the only known effective treatment to halt sudden cardiac arrest.

Why is Early Defibrillation Important?

 - In many cases, SCA can be reversed with early defibrillation -- the use of a defibrillator to shock the heart back into normal rhythm by means of an electric current. To be most effective, defibrillation must occur as soon as possible after the onset of SCA.

 - According to the AHA, each minute of delay in delivering a defibrillation shock to a cardiac arrest victim reduces the chances of survival by 10 percent.

 - The average response time nationally for emergency medical personnel equipped with defibrillators is 10 minutes, making access to defibrillators on-site or in first-responder vehicles (police cars, fire trucks, etc.) extremely important.

 - Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) works to temporarily circulate blood to vital organs; however, CPR cannot restore a patient's heart to a healthy rhythm. The AHA states that the definitive survival treatment for an SCA victim is a defibrillation shock.

  -  Published studies have proven that early defibrillation, within the first few minutes of SCA, can save up to 74 percent of victims.