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News Release

   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   March 4, 2002


Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Tom Slater

Learning How To Use Portable Defibrillators Can Save Lives

Each year, more than 23,000 New Jersey citizens die from sudden cardiac arrest, and when the condition strikes, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. But thanks to a portable device - an automated external defibrillator (AED) - everyday people who receive certified training can save lives.

AEDs deliver an electric shock to the body, restoring the heart's normal rhythm. Immediate use of an AED in conjunction with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can save an estimated 50,000 lives every year.

New Jersey Acting Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, Clifton R. Lacy, M.D., encourages increased public training in the use of defibrillators.

"A quick response to a cardiac arrest using a defibrillator and cardiopulmonary resuscitation gives cardiac arrest victims the best chance for survival and a complete recovery," said Acting Commissioner Lacy. "New Jersey business and organizations can have their employees trained in these areas through programs offered by groups such as the American Red Cross. It's an investment that can save lives."

Earlier this year, a new piece of legislation required placement of AEDs in all New Jersey state buildings. The Department is currently formulating guidelines for the placement and usage of defibrillators in state buildings.

AEDs are programmed to evaluate a heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock when certain life-threatening arrhythmias are detected. First-responders such as EMTs, firefighters and police are trained in use of AEDs.

The public's use of defibrillators has greatly increased in the last decade. In the 1990s, the American Heart Association created the Public Access Defibrillation Initiative, which led to the development of the portable AED. The initiative's goal was to place AEDs in strategic public places so laypersons with minimal training could properly defibrillate people with cardiac arrest.

Because technology has made AEDs more user-friendly, there is now broader use of these devices by the public. The new AEDs provide both voice and visual prompts that lead users through each rescue step.

Commissioner Lacy also issued these reminders on maintaining a healthy lifestyle to prevent heart attacks and other heart diseases: Don't smoke, exercise regularly, have your blood pressure checked and keep your cholesterol level under control.

For more information on heart disease and other health issues, see the Department's website at


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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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