Of the 40 cardiac arrests that happened on Michigan golf courses from 2010 to 2012, only 30 percent of patients made it to a hospital alive — a number that could have been higher if more courses provided and used automated external defibrillators, or AED, say researchers at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.
“For a cardiac arrest, every minute you wait to get a response, your chance of survival decreases by 10 percent,” says Dr. Robert Swor, Beaumont’s director of emergency medicine research and the study’s principal investigator. “If someone collapses on a golf course, they are unlikely to get lifesaving treatment until EMS arrives.”
Researchers found that the average EMS response time for such cardiac arrests was nearly 10 minutes. And of the nine golf courses that had an AED — a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to stop an irregular heart rhythm, which can cause death — only two used them.
“What’s interesting is the general population is fairly knowledgeable (about cardiac arrest) — 70 percent of the victims were given CPR,” Swor says. “I think if there were devices available and assistance to get them to the patients’ sides, they would be effective.”
In addition to increasing the number of devices available, golf courses would also benefit by taking proactive approaches including ready-access points for emergency providers, stickers on golf carts with emergency response instructions, and CPR/AED fundraisers, the researchers say.