Philips HeartStart Defibrillators Adopted by Law Enforcement Agencies Nationwide to Help Protect Communities from Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Jun 23, 2010, 09:00 ET from Philips Healthcare

ANDOVER, Mass., June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) announced today that six U.S. law enforcement agencies have acquired its HeartStart FRx Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for their officers to use in vehicles, enabling them to assist victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).  SCA is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, claiming approximately 295,000(i) lives each year.

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Since officers are often first to arrive at the scene of a cardiac emergency, it is crucial to have immediate access to an AED in the event the victim is experiencing SCA.  Defibrillation is recognized as the definitive treatment for ventricular fibrillation, the abnormal heart rhythm most often associated with SCA.(ii)  While CPR may help prolong the window of survival, it cannot restore a normal cardiac rhythm.(iii)  For every minute that goes by without defibrillation, a cardiac arrest victim's chance of survival decreases by about 10 percent.(iv)  After 10 minutes without defibrillation, few attempts at resuscitation are successful.(v)

The six law enforcement agencies that recently acquired HeartStart Defibrillators include Milwaukee and New Berlin, Wis.; Manatee, Fla.; Bellevue and Kent, Wash.; and Dunwoody, Ga. The New Berlin Police Department and Manatee County Sheriff's Office secured funding for in-vehicle implementations at the end of 2009 and chose HeartStart AEDs based on positive feedback from their local EMS departments.  While several of the communities already had AEDs in law enforcement buildings, officers were not equipped with AEDs in their vehicles.

According to Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn, "Our mission is to prevent the loss of life and because we are often the first to arrive at emergencies -- including medical emergencies -- our ability to take lifesaving action is vital.  Having AEDs in our vehicles will enhance the service our police officers can provide to the community."  

Bob Lundsten, who knows all too well the power of AEDs after nearly losing his wife to SCA, made it his mission to get AEDs into his newly incorporated City of Dunwoody.  He founded a non-profit organization and with massive community support, rallied the community to raise enough funds to purchase 53 Philips HeartStart FRx AEDs.  In less than six months time, all Dunwoody police vehicles and several high-risk areas within the police department and courthouse were equipped to respond to a cardiac emergency.  To build off of the police force preparedness, the Dunwoody 911 protocol was revised to include police on the first responder dispatch for emergencies involving collapse.  

An AED automatically detects potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias and can be used to treat them through defibrillation, the application of electrical therapy that stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.  The HeartStart FRx AED provides clear, calm voice commands to guide users through every step of the defibrillation process, including CPR coaching.  The FRx is designed to handle extreme weather conditions and to be used successfully by responders, such as police officers, who are not medical professionals.

"With demonstrated clinical leadership in both early defibrillation and quality, Philips HeartStart is proud to be the industry's leading AED brand," said Kevin Maguire, general manager of the HeartStart Automated External Defibrillator business for Philips Healthcare.  "It's been estimated that over 40,000 more lives could be saved annually in the U.S. alone if AEDs were more widely available and Philips is committed to providing this advanced technology to customers so they can reach victims more quickly.  The adoption of AEDs by law enforcement agencies will enable faster response times and may significantly increase SCA survival rates."  

Equipping law enforcement vehicles with AEDs can provide immediate reward.  Within weeks after deploying Philips AEDs, Bellevue, Wash. experienced its first save.  A 50-year-old man was working in his yard and felt chest pain.  While his wife was driving him to the hospital, he went into sudden cardiac arrest.  A Bellevue police officer was on call and able to provide defibrillation before medical personnel from the hospital could get mobile equipment to the victim, thus saving his life.

To the City of Durham, N.C. police department, which has deployed Philips defibrillators, the value of AEDs is no surprise.  "Within the past six months, there were two occasions when we needed an AED to resuscitate our own officers who went into sudden cardiac arrest.  During both emergencies, we had a HeartStart defibrillator on hand and were able to provide a lifesaving shock," said Jim Bjurstrom, Deputy Chief of the Durham, N.C. City Police Department.  "The hope was that we would never have to use it, but our department's decision to purchase HeartStart AEDs has proven to be an indispensable investment."

About Royal Philips Electronics

Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people's lives through timely innovations. As a world leader in healthcare, lifestyle and lighting, Philips integrates technologies and design into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the brand promise of "sense and simplicity". Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips employs approximately 116,000 employees in more than 60 countries worldwide. With sales of US 32.3 billion in 2009, the company is a market leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as lifestyle products for personal well-being and pleasure with strong leadership positions in flat TV, male shaving and grooming, portable entertainment and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at

(i) FACTS. A Race Against the Clock. Sudden Cardiac Arrest. American Heart Association. Available at: Accessed April 26, 2010.

(ii) AED Frequently Asked Questions (External Audience). American Red Cross. Available at: Accessed April 5, 2010.

(iii) ibid

(iv) About Sudden Death and Cardiac Arrest. American Heart Association. Available at: Accessed March 18, 2010.

(v) ibid

SOURCE Philips Healthcare