Heart disease accounts for 25% of deaths in the United States annually, with over 655,000 Americans dying from heart disease each year. In earlier centuries, heart disease was not seen as often, however as life expectancy rose in the 20th century, so did the prevalence of heart disease. Throughout the 20th century, heart attacks became more and more common, taking the lives of countless Americans.


Alongside an increase in deaths due to heart disease was an increase in scientific innovation. Most notably, life-saving efforts for those suffering from cardiac events became more common as researchers discovered the underlying conditions that impact cardiac events.


Heart Disease Facts

Heat disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Millions of Americans are at risk for developing heart disease due to a number of underlying conditions, including:

  • High blood pressure

  • Obesity

  • Family history of heart disease

  • Smoking

  • Poor diet

  • Physical inactivity


While some of the above listed conditions cannot be controlled, in many instances, heart disease can be prevented and treated, resulting in a positive prognosis. As heart disease became more common in the 20th century, researchers began developing new treatments for the various underlying conditions associated with heart disease, including the development of catheters, studying the structure of arteries using injectable dyes, and finding links between heart disease and a patient’s diet and exercise regimen.


History of the Defibrillator

The biggest development in the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) was the invention of an advanced life-saving device, the defibrillator. The first defibrillators were developed in 1933, however, they were not used on patients until 1947. By 1956, the first closed-chest defibrillator was being used regularly in hospital settings.


In order to treat patients outside of the hospital, or away from electrical outlets, the first portable defibrillator was invented in the mid-1960s, relying on a car battery for power, and has since become an essential tool for saving patients from SCA.


Numerous scientific advances have been made since the 1960s, allowing for the first models of portable defibrillators to bring simple, effective treatment to SCA patients in any setting. Modern 21st-century iterations of the automated external defibrillator (AED) have evolved to include voice directions and visual cues to follow while providing treatment, making it easy to use, even for untrained bystanders.


why do cardiac arrests happen in the bathroom?

Cardiac arrest can strike at any time, including in the bathroom. This is because certain daily activities, such as going to the bathroom or taking a bath, can cause cardiac arrest.

Over 350,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of the hospital each year, and about 70% of those happen in the home including the bathroom. Unfortunately, about half of people who experience sudden cardiac arrests at home do not get the help they need in time before an ambulance arrives. In addition to calling 9-1-1 and starting CPR until medical professionals arrive, having an AED on hand may be the difference between life and death.


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