Lifeforce – Frequently Asked Questions

A crew member suffers a Sudden Cardiac Arrest at sea. You’re hundreds of miles away from a hospital, medevac will take hours and nobody nearby has any medical training. What do you do?

We designed Lifeforce for exactly this kind of situation!

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is when the heart’s normal rhythm suddenly becomes chaotic. The heart can no longer pump the blood effectively and the victim collapses, stops breathing, becomes unresponsive, and has no detectable pulse. When used on a victim of SCA, the AED can administer a life-saving electric shock that restores the heart’s rhythm to normal. Heart attacks (myocardial infarction) and sudden cardiac arrests are both heart-related problems, but they are different. SCA is an electrical problem; a heart attack is a “plumbing” problem. Sometimes a heart attack – which may not be fatal – can trigger a sudden cardiac arrest.

Why do we need AEDs?

AEDs save lives. When someone has a sudden cardiac arrest, their heart’s regular rhythm becomes chaotic or arrhythmic which means it’s not pumping blood around the body. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the odds of survival drop by 10%. After ten minutes, very few people survive.

What are my chances if this happens at sea?

Without a defibrillator on board, practically zero.

What if I don’t have crew qualified to use an AED?

There’s currently no legal requirement for training, so having an AED that’s simple to use is important. Lifeforce was independently assessed against four other leading AEDs by the University of Illinois in an ease and success of use study. The study concluded that the Lifeforce family of AEDs is the simplest and most successful to use in the world and said that: ‘Users are on average 26% more likely to deliver effective defibrillation using LIFEFORCE® than with other AEDs’. We do recommend some training, however, as this can help crew feel more confident about using an AED.

What if my crew are scared of using the AED?

In a rescue attempt, there is sometimes a concern by the user that they may do more harm than good by using an AED.  However, the system is foolproof. The unit analyses and assesses the patient’s heart rhythm, making life-saving decisions and guiding the user through every step with clear verbal instructions and visual indicators. The user can’t make a mistake and it’s impossible to deliver a shock to someone who isn’t having a cardiac arrest.

Once a crew member has seen a demonstration of an AED and realises that the unit does all the work, they’re usually more than comfortable to use it. Lifeforce is designed to be unintimidating and we can also offer a comprehensive training course that always leaves people ready to act in an emergency.

I’m worried about the legal implications, can I be held liable?

For anyone attempting to resuscitate someone, there’s always a worry that a claim could be brought against them if the casualty suffers harm. There’s never been a case won against an AED user so it’s very difficult to give a definitive answer in the absence of any legal precedent. The fact is that AEDs make the decision to shock or not to shock – the user simply cannot issue a shock if it isn’t required. There’s never been a documented case of an AED providing the wrong treatment but there have been successful cases in the US against companies who failed to provide an AED.

Will Lifeforce work at sea? 

Yes, it’s specifically designed for use at sea – it’s the first AED to be GL Type Approved.

Will it survive life on board ship?

It’s rated IPX4 for water protection, IP5X for dust protection and has been jet and helicopter tested, coming up to US Military standards for shock and vibration. The handle and sides are rubberised to prevent impact damage and there are no unnecessary frills to complicate things in an emergency. It’s lightweight, portable and low maintenance.

How often will it need new batteries and servicing?

The battery comes with five years of life as standard but you can order one with seven. It automatically carries out its own diagnostic tests so there’s no need for additional servicing – we also support Lifeforce’s performance and reliability with a full eight-year marine specific warranty.

What training do you provide?

There are three options available with Lifeforce. Each one can be used on its own or be combined to ensure you have peace of mind:

  1. A comprehensive training course. This covers all aspects of AED rescue and teaches basic CPR, along with all the information a first responder will need to know for an emergency cardiac situation.
  2. Standalone training unit. This is a complete, ready to use unit designed specifically for training simulations. The pack includes the training AED, training battery, training pads, remote control and battery charger. It can’t be used for treatment at any time.
  3. Training upgrade package. This allows the Lifeline AED to be temporarily converted to a training unit, allowing you to simulate a rescue scenario and provide refresher training at your convenience.

If you have any more questions about Lifeforce Marine AED or the dangers of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, please get in touch.