SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch heart foundation has said at least 5,000 extra defibrillators are needed to complete a nationwide accessible public network.
The foundation has started a campaign to encourage groups of neighbours to buy one of the devices together via crowd funding. An automatic external defibrillator (AED) costs around €1,500, but the Hartstichting said shared purchase can bring the price down to under €1,000.
People who suffer a cardiac arrest are most likely to survive if action is taken within six minutes of an attack. The device administers an electric shock so the heart resumes beating while emergency services make their way to the patient.
There are 20,000 public AEDs in the Netherlands and some 240,000 registered civilian helpers on call. They can reach a victim on average two and a half minutes quicker than an ambulance.
Some 17,000 people a year suffer a cardiac arrest outside hospital. In the 1990s only 9% percent survived, compared to 25% now. The Hartstichting said installing 5,000 more AEDs would improve that proportion considerably.