Assuta Ashdod’s own Dr. Deri is Delivering a Shock to the Heart That Saves Lives
Updated: Mar 12, 2023
Dr. Yotam Deri is in the business of saving lives.
As an emergency physician in Assuta Ashdod’s ER since 2017, Deri knows from experience that patient survival rates increase dramatically if they receive CPR or defibrillation soon after a cardiac arrest.
He felt so passionately about immediate CPR and defibrillation improving patient outcomes, he embarked on research that proved it.
Dr. Deri collected data on all individuals who had suffered an out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in the city of Ashdod from 2018-2021. Of those 1,253 cases, CPR was attempted in 645 instances, with just 207 reporting a subsequent pulse. Of those 207, just 48 survived to discharge and an even smaller minority, just 26, had a “good neurological outcome.” In other words, they had not suffered a stroke or brain damage as a result of the heart attack.
As it turns out, that four percent survival rate with a good neurological outcome is the global average. Next, Dr. Deri refined his question and asked how many of those 26 had received a life-saving shock from an automated external defibrillator (AED) device. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, Dr. Deri and his colleagues write:
The survival-to-discharge rate was higher in cases where an AED was used and shock was given compared to cases where AED was not used or AED was used but shock was not given (51.4% vs. 19.6% vs. 13.3%; PV < 0.001). A higher survival-to-discharge rate was observed when AED was used by bystanders compared to a first responder and EMS (83.3% vs. 40.0% and 15.4%; PV < 0.001) and compared to cases in which it was not used at all (PV < 0.001).
In plain English, Dr. Deri found that a person’s chance of survival increases 44 times if a bystander uses an AED and 4 times if emergency personnel employ the device. Why the huge difference? It takes emergency services 10-15 minutes to arrive at a scene of an emergency, whereas a bystander can start CPR and apply an AED within minutes.
“Although bystanders are not medical professionals, they can immediately start chest compressions on someone who has collapsed,” Dr. Deri explains. “Then, soon after, if an AED is available, they can use that device. Those two steps position the patient for a better prognosis.”
Dr. Deri insisted that it only stands to reason that if more defibrillators were available, the chances of someone surviving a cardiac arrest increase. While an AED can not be used in every cardiac arrest case (there needs to be a “shockable rhythm” of the heart), according to Dr. Deri, “If there is a defibrillator available the prognosis is much better.
“We’re talking about the very few minutes after the collapse. If you can administer an AED in that short time span, there is a better chance that there will be a shockable rhythm. This means that if we put more defibrillators around the city, we can save more lives.”
Over the last three years, the municipality of Ashdod took Dr. Deri’s advice and has placed 77 more defibrillators throughout the city in an attempt to deliver life-saving medical attention to city residents. While the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest are still minimal, Dr. Deri says the AED “can make the chances of survival a little better. And that’s all that counts.”