Pope Benedict XVI Accepts Gift of Defibtech Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

Pope Benedict XVI Accepts Gift of Defibtech Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

Churches can be leaders in public access defibrillator programs

Vatican City
April 17, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI personally accepted the gift of a Defibtech automated external defibrillator (AED) from Defibtech's president Gintaras Vaisnys and Fabio Rangoni, president of Mortara, the Italian distributor of the Defibtech Lifeline® AED. Defibtech is a leading designer and manufacturer of automated external defibrillators, which revive potential victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) caused by ventricular fibrillation.

Vaisnys and Rangoni met with the Pope at a recent papal audience where Vaisnys presented the AED while Rangoni explained to the leader of the world's Roman Catholics how defibrillators can save victims of sudden cardiac arrest. "Pope Benedict was genuinely interested and immediately grasped how a defibrillator can save lives," Vaisnys said. Health experts estimate that sudden cardiac arrest kills over 400,000 Americans each year.

Vatican City is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations: approximately 17,000 visitors arrive each day to see St. Peter's Square and Basilica, the Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Gardens and Grottos, and other attractions. "Because so many people come to the Vatican each day, it's an important place to have a defibrillator," Vaisnys said. "It is very important that AEDs are located in areas frequented by many people—public areas, workplaces, airports, schools and churches, health clubs, hotels and so on."

Churches as the scenes of numerous defibrillator life-saves

Churches have been the scenes of numerous defibrillator life-saves and in many cases have been leaders in bringing AED programs into their communities. Keith White, of Cincinnati, Ohio, suffered sudden cardiac arrest at a dinner celebrating his parish's 60th anniversary. Fellow guests saved his life by responding with a Defibtech AED. The parish had received the AED only 10 days earlier from an anonymous donor. The low cost of Defibtech AEDs makes the life-saving devices affordable for churches, many of which have acquired them through fund-raising and donations.

Having an AED where many people congregate is important because immediate resuscitation is vital. Studies show that more than 70 percent of SCA victims who are defibrillated within a minute or two after arrest survive. If defibrillation is delayed for more than 10 minutes, less than 5 percent live.

2006 Winter Olympics among Defibtech's previous deployments and recognitions

Defibtech and the Italian distributor Mortara previously partnered to deploy 148 AEDs at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Defibtech AEDs can be found throughout the United States, Canada and Europe; in China, India, the Middle East and other parts of Asia; and in Australia, South America and Africa.

Defibtech was named North America's fastest-growing medical equipment company by Deloitte's prestigious 2007 Technology Fast 500 Program. The Defibtech AED has earned several major awards, including the Best Bang for the Buck Award from Frost & Sullivan, an AED industry analyst. The AED's outstanding design was recognized by The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA), which selected the Lifeline to be in its "SAFE: Design Takes On Risk" exhibit.