The Ministry of Public Health is planning to install 3,000 heart defibrillators in public areas, citing heart attacks as the third leading cause of death in the Kingdom. Public Health Minister Somsak Chunharas, says 54,000 Thais die of cardiac arrest each year. The machines, also known as Automatic External Defibrillators (AED), will be installed in cities, remote areas and in island communities. The installation phase will be completed within three years and is expected to save lives. National health statistics reveal that heart failure kills an average of six people per hour.
Half of the patients taken to hospital are pronounced dead before they can receive medical attention. Dr. Somsak claimed the defibrillators are user-friendly and could increase survival rates by 45%. Cardiac arrest usually occurs in people suffering from diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.