More than 2,000 Medtronic Physio-Control AEDs will help protect residents and visitors

Miami and Redmond, Wash. – The Miami-Dade Police Department, a recognized leader for its innovative law enforcement programs, is now leading the way in the fight against one of the nation’s leading killers, sudden cardiac arrest.

   The Department’s sworn officers have been trained to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) – small, easy-to-use devices that enable non-medical personnel to treat a person in cardiac arrest. The Department has equipped 1,900 patrol cars, marine units, mounted units, helicopters and bicycle patrols with LIFEPAK® 500 AEDs, manufactured by Medtronic Physio-Control of Redmond, Wash. – making this not only the largest police AED program but the largest public access defibrillation program of any kind in the world. More units will be deployed over the next year with officers graduating from the new recruit classes.

   "Our patrol officers take their vehicles home with them, so the AEDs will be out in the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Police Director Carlos Alvarez. "Our department exists to serve the public, and I don’t know what better service there can be than to save a life."

   In fact, four lives have already been saved since the Department started phasing in the AED program on February 1, 1999.

   Nationally, the average survival rate from cardiac arrest is only about 5 percent. Prior to launching the AED program, the survival rate in Miami-Dade was 9 percent of witnessed cardiac arrests, and a research study led by Robert J. Myerburg, MD, will document improvements in survival as a result of the program. Data collection for the study will be conducted by the Miami Heart Research Institute.

   "Collecting accurate data will allow us to define the actual benefit from AEDs. Locally, improving survival by 10 percent, or even more, is not unrealistic. This would mean saving at least an additional 30 lives every year," said Dr. Myerburg, professor or medicine and physiology and director of the division of cardiology at the University of Miami School of Medicine. "If police AED programs were implemented nationwide, the American Heart Association estimates that as many as 20,000 – or even more – additional lives could be saved."

   Because police cars are out on patrol, they can often arrive at the scene of a medical emergency a few minutes ahead of other emergency response vehicles that may be dispatched from a fire station.

   "Time is critical when responding to sudden cardiac arrest because the person’s heart is unable to pump blood throughout the body," explained Donald Rosenberg, MD, FACC, professor of clinical medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine and medical director for Miami-Dade Police and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. "With each passing minute, the chance of survival drops by about 10 percent."

   The AEDs utilized by Miami-Dade Police Department were funded by the County’s Public Health Trust at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

   "Cardiac arrest is a serious public health problem that claims nearly 1,000 lives every day in the U.S.," said Ira Clark, president of the Public Health Trust. "We are pleased to be able to make this contribution to improve the health and safety of our community."

   With a population of more than 2 million and an area of 2,000 square miles, Miami-Dade County is the largest municipal government in the U.S. Miami-Dade Police Department’s 3,000 sworn officers respond to calls in the unincorporated areas of the county and at Miami International Airport.

   Based near Seattle, Wash., Medtronic Physio-Control is the recognized leader in the manufacture, sale and service of external defibrillators and related medical equipment and accessories. Since the company pioneered portable defibrillation technology more than 30 years ago, its LIFEPAK products have been used by field emergency medical personnel and staff at eight out of 10 US hospitals, and now by first responders such as police and security officers, to save hundreds of thousands of lives. 

   Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT), headquartered in Minneapolis, is the world’s leading medical technology company, pioneering device-based therapies that restore health, extend life and alleviate pain. Its Internet address is www.medtronic.com.