MINNEAPOLIS -- (Jan. 4) -- Northwest Airlines today announced it has completed its year-long program of equipping its fleet of more than 400 aircraft with LIFEPAK® 500 automated external defibrillators (AED) and BiologTM 3000 electrocardiograph (ECG) monitors supplied by Medtronic Physio-Control.
In addition, the airline equipped its aircraft with new, expanded medical kits containing supplies and medication for emergency treatment of heart failure, breathing difficulties, seizures and other medical emergencies. The kits will supplement the expert medical advice from Mayo Clinic personnel available to Northwest aircraft via an air-to-ground phone connection. Northwest flight attendants are trained to operate the AED units, and in cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid procedures. "We're pleased to offer these important life-saving devices in partnership with Medtronic, the world's leading medical technology company," said Richard Anderson, Northwest Airlines executive vice president and chief operating officer. "Safety is our number one priority for our customers and our employees."
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming more than 15 million lives annually, with sudden cardiac arrest killing one million people a year. Early recognition and prompt treatment with a defibrillator can save thousands of lives every year. Northwest is also installing the AED units in its employee facilities and plans training in their use for 10 to 15 percent of its employees in conjunction with CPR training.
The LIFEPAK® 500, which weighs just seven pounds, is an easy to use, portable AED unit designed for non-medical personnel to provide life-saving treatment to victims of sudden cardiac arrest in the critical period immediately following a heart attack. The BiologTM 3000 ECG monitor is a hand-held unit capable of recording a diagnostic-quality 12-lead ECG used to diagnose or rule out a heart attack in progress. The unit will assist medical personnel, who may be available on the aircraft, in determining which, if any, drugs may be necessary to assist the passenger, or if more immediate medical attention is required.
"We have equipped our aircraft with the best combination of medical tools," said Dr. David Zanick, Northwest Airlines medical director. "Our long-standing relationship with Mayo Clinic personnel via direct air-to-ground phone connections has always provided a source of expert medical advice, which is now enhanced with an AED, the ECG monitor and the expanded medical kit." Northwest aircraft around the world have 24-hour, seven day-a-week phone access to Mayo Clinic personnel for advice when passengers experience medical problems during flight.
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