By DariaBlackwell - 5 Apr 2017
"Sudden cardiac arrest at sea
Mar 30, 2017
When her partner fell gravely ill, a voyaging wife was prepared
BY ELAINE CASHAR
Rich Jablonski in a Brazilian taxi.
Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and finding your spouse, partner or friend unconscious. Now add that you are 35 nautical miles offshore, plus another 74 miles from the closest town with a hospital in a foreign country..."
By Roger Harris - 8 Feb 2021
Thanks Daria for the link. It's an interesting article, which begs the question: should a cruising yacht carry an AED?
In a perfect world, the answer is probably "yes". It cannot do any harm - modern AEDs are all but 'idiot-proof' - and might do some good (the AED was critically important in the specific circumstances described in the article).
But of course, we don't live in a perfect world. While AEDs are not huge, neither are they tiny, and storage space on a small yacht is limited. Too, most of us have finite resources, and the US$1,000-2,000 an AED costs might arguably be better spent on some other safety gear.
Here is what authors Weiss and Jacobs say in their short book Marine Medicine: a comprehensive guide, 2nd ed.:
"Several items are not routinely recommended for the offshore kit ... Automatic external defibrillators are lifesaving only if expert intensive care together with a full complement of drugs and equipment are immediately available in the context of advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and hospital coronary units. Nonfatal heart attacks can be treated with aspirin, oral and topical nitrates, beta-blockers, and anti-platelet drugs."See further CPR and Defibrillation.
By PhilipH2 - 10 Feb 2021
The cost and space issues are very real where kit like this is concerned. When preparing for our circumnavigation we did consider buying an AED but then thought about the point that it is not a cure but a means to keep someone alive until an ICU can be reached which is not much use when at least 1500nm from the nearest ICU. We also thought about carrying a body bag but passed on that too and preferred to have the SSB and the satphone with the emergency numbers of the UK National Maritime Operations Centre, MRCC, ready to go in the latter.
By Dick - 10 Feb 2021
My research over the years, and including a number of specialists in wilderness medicine, agree with your assessment. We do not carry an AED for similar reasoning (aside from space and cost).
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy