Latvia plans to make public defibrillators available

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Defibrillators will be placed in public locations from 2024 to be used in life-threatening situations before medical arrivals according to the amendments to be viewed in the responsible Saeima committee January 13.

These amendments are to be viewed in the parliament in three readings.

Saeima deputy and medic Andris Skride said that in the event of heart failure the first few minutes are the most important.

According to the Development/For! party's information report, around 1,000 people a year experience heart failure outside their home in Latvia, of those around 300 in densely populated areas. According to Skride, the existence of a defibrillator nearby could save several hundred lives a year.

“Despite the fact that mortality from cardiovascular diseases [in Latvia] is one of the highest in Europe, the common practice of ensuring the availability of external automatic defibrillators in public places has not yet been introduced. The most common cause of sudden death is myocardial infarction, and approximately 50% people do not get to the hospital because they die on-site without first extended assistance. The first few minutes are the most valuable [..] and a defibrillator can significantly improve the chances of surviving,” Skride said.

He explained that defibrillators were designed to be used by people without medical education, and the device has simple instructions. In many countries, the availability of equipment in public places, such as supermarkets, stadiums or passenger aircraft, has already been made mandatory.

The proposed amendments have been submitted to the Saeima Social and Labour Affairs Commission for further viewing.


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