ReStart DC

ReStart DC is a community outreach program of the GW Heart & Vascular Institute.

The Program

The ReStart DC mission is to increase survival rates of sudden cardiac arrest in the national capital area. ReStart DC will donate 200 AEDs to organizations serving low-income communities throughout metropolitan Washington, DC in an effort to increase public access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and increase public awareness about sudden cardiac arrest. In addition to providing free AED devices, the program will provide training, medical oversight and direction.

The Critical Need

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death in the U.S., claiming the lives of more than 325,000 people each year — nearly one death every two minutes. Today the chance of survival from SCA outside of a hospital is only 6 percent.
Sudden cardiac arrest is usually due to abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias, the vast majority of which are ventricular fibrillation. SCA victims usually collapse and quickly lose consciousness, often without warning. Death usually follows within a matter of minutes unless a normal heart rhythm is restored. A defibrillator is the only successful therapy to restore this rhythm.

The Rationale

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a device that analyzes a person’s heart rhythm and enables even an untrained rescuer to promptly deliver an electrical shock if an abnormal heart rhythm is detected. Immediate CPR and quick access to an AED are critical for SCA victim’s survival. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chance of survival decreases by 7-10%. Early defibrillation – reaching the victim within 3 to 5 minutes – with an AED significantly increases a victim’s chance of survival.

The Vision

The purpose of ReStart DC is to:

  • Place AEDs in public places where large numbers of people gather.
  • Educate the greater public about the use of AEDs and CPR and provide training.
  • Raise awareness about SCA and the critical need for AED access.

Our vision for ReStart DC is to make AEDs as ubiquitous as fire extinguishers to maximize the likelihood that a person in sudden cardiac arrest can be defibrillated within 3 minutes.