Early Defibrillation

Most sudden cardiac arrest victims are in ventricular fibrillation (VF). VF is an abnormal, chaotic heart rhythm that prevents the heart from pumping blood. VF causes more cardiac arrests than any other rhythm (about 80% to 90% of cases). One must defibrillate a victim immediately to stop VF and allow a normal heart rhythm to resume.

The sooner one provides defibrillation, the better the victim's chances of survival. If defibrillation is provided within the first 5 minutes of a cardiac arrest, the odds are about 50% that the victim's life can be saved. But with each passing minute during a cardiac arrest, the chance of successful resuscitation is reduced by 7% to 10%. After 10 minutes there is very little chance of successful rescue.