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Release: March 30, 2001

UIHC acquires new state of the art defibrillators

IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics recently acquired 24 state of the art automatic external defibrillators (AED) that are used to swiftly deliver potentially life-saving defibrillation therapy to people who are affected by sudden cardiac arrests (heart attacks).

An AED supplies an electrical current to the heart to help restore a normal heartbeat. Defibrillators offer effective treatment for sudden cardiac arrest, but the therapy must be delivered within the first few critical minutes following the onset of the heart attack.

Richard Kerber, M.D., a cardiologist with UI Heart Care, is a national authority on the use of AEDs, and has led multiple research efforts that contributed to the development of the technology.

"Defibrillation is an important link in the ‘chain of survival’ for anyone who experiences a sudden heart attack," said Kerber. "The first steps in that ‘chain of survival’ involve calling 911 or another emergency number to notify the emergency medical system, and then to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. However, the crucial element is how soon that patient can receive defibrillation."

The American Heart Association reports that each minute of delay from the onset of a sudden cardiac arrest until defibrillation is performed reduces a patient’s chance of survival by 10 percent. Making AEDs widely available throughout hospitals and other public locations such as sports venues, municipal buildings and even airliners can help win that race against the clock.

The new AEDs will be located throughout UI Hospitals and Clinics in areas such as clinics, the cardiac rehabilitation area, chemical dependency services, physical therapy, the DeGowin Blood Donor Center, the UI Family Care Center, the housed outpatient area, and remote sites such as UI Family Care -- North Liberty.

"Our staff members are often the first to reach a person who is in sudden cardiac arrest," said Kerber. "Having an AED readily available can significantly decrease the amount of time it takes to deliver defibrillation therapy."

The new AEDs are small, lightweight and easy to use. The devices use advanced technology designed specifically to make the implementation of early-response programs practical in communities, industrial settings and other public and private facilities.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at