Time is the most critical factor when someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, and the only definitive treatment is a defibrillation shock administered within the first few minutes after the incident.

The West Virginia University Foundation recently made its building at One Waterfront Place “heartsafe” by installing an automated external defibrillator, or AED, on every floor. Six of the building’s floors are leased to WVU, with the seventh occupied by the Foundation. It is believed that One Waterfront Place is the first WVU-occupied building to have an AED on every floor.

One of the defibrillators was donated by Cardiac Science, and the others were purchased by the Foundation. Cardiac Science is a global leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of diagnostic and therapeutic cardiology products.

“When the Foundation decided to make its building ‘heartsafe’ by placing an AED on every floor, Cardiac Science felt it was important, and wanted to show our support by donating an AED to the foundation,” said Valerie Joseph, a certified AED specialist with Cardiac Science. “We applaud the Foundation for guarding the lives of all those who work in this building and visit there. We hope this example will inspire others in the WVU community to follow the Foundation’s lead.”
The new defibrillators, located outside the elevators on each floor, will help in assisting a bystander render aid in the event someone should suffer from sudden cardiac arrest.

Despite the fact that no statistics are available for the exact number of sudden cardiac arrests that occur each year, the American Heart Association estimates that about 335,000 people die each year of coronary heart disease without being hospitalized, which is about 918 Americans each day. AED devices are critical considering that about 95 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital, according to the association.

Foundation Vice President of Technology and Facilities Mark Cottrill kept the Foundation’s mission statement close to his heart when evaluating the practicality of AEDs at One Waterfront Place.

“Our mission is to enrich the lives of those touched by West Virginia University,” Cottrill said. “It occurred to me that if we were able to save just one life with the deployment of the AEDs at One Waterfront Place, we would have far exceeded this mission and for that one person, their life would have been enriched and changed forever. There is nothing more important than guarding the safety and health of everyone that visits or works here.”

Cottrill also points out that WVU now has a program covering the deployment, training and use of AEDs. Training will be provided to anyone who wishes to sign up for the day-long class coordinated by WVU Environmental Health and Safety.

The Foundation’s implementation of AEDs is part of the WVU Early Defibrillation Program, an initiative launched by WVU to support and educate various departments on campus on the proper use of an AED.

Dr. Robert Beto II, director of the WVU Heart Institute, also feels strongly about the implementation of AEDs and hopes that one day AEDs will be available in every building throughout campus.

“AEDs have become proven lifesavers in recent years for people who experience acute cardiac events,” Beto said. “We as a staff are firm believers in AEDs and we feel strongly that AEDs should be in all public places.”

The WVU Foundation is a private non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University.


CONTACT: Bill Nevin, WVU Foundation