One American collapses of an SCA every two minutes, and only half of them have any prior history of cardiovascular disease. (Captain Taylor was known for his commitment to fitness and had no prior cardiac history.) Fifty percent of the victims have no warning at all. The vast majority of cardiac arrests take place at work, in public places, or in the home. While EMS systems have evolved to bring trained medical professionals rapidly to the scene of a medical emergency, the optimal window for medical intervention of an SCA is most often too narrow to get the necessary equipment and skills to the victim's side in time to save his or her life.
The probability of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is at least doubled for victims who receive bystander CPR. SCA victims who receive bystander CPR and the benefit of a shock from an AED within four minutes quadruple their chance of survival. Sadly, victims receive the benefit of bystander CPR only 7 to 28 percent of the time. They receive the combined benefit of bystander CPR and an AED a dismal 2 to 3 percent of the time. This means only two out of every 100 cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR and have an AED attached prior to the arrival of EMS.
If millions of people are trained each year, why haven't response rates increased during the past decade?