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On call: Home defibrillators

Updated: June 01, 2008

On call

Home defibrillators

Q. Every time I walk through a mall or airport, I see machines for reviving heart attack victims. My husband has had two heart attacks. He's doing very well now, but I wonder if I can get a device like this for our home. And if I get one, would I be able to learn how to use it?

A. It's an important question. About 166,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur in the U.S. each year, and only about 6% of these patients survive long enough to make it out of the hospital. Any attempt to do better should start at home, since about 80% of sudden cardiac arrests occur at home.

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