Published June 16, 2013
A trip to Sin City isn't always fun and games, with MGM Resorts properties in Las Vegas averaging roughly 45 to 50 sudden cardiac arrests a year on the casino floor. With heart attacks becoming commonplace in casinos, properties on The Strip are training employees to use defibrillators, also known as AEDs – turning casinos into what some consider the safest place to, well, have a heart attack.
"We're able to get anywhere on a property a lot quicker than calling 911," said Dr. David Slattery, the medical director for MGM Resorts defibrillator training program.
A defibrillator applies electrical energy to the affected heart area, giving the individual a better chance of surviving by regaining their natural rhythm. Both MGM and Caesars properties, which make up a majority of the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, train employees on the casino floor to use these defibrillators at a moment’s notice.
Whether the heart attack is noticed by a security officer near a slot machine or by a surveillance camera, the odds are high you'll get some immediate help.
"If you look just at the casino floor, where the response time is less than three minutes, about 60 to 70 percent of those come back after sudden cardiac arrest,"
The AED training at MGM is certified by the American Heart Association, incorporating regular "mock drills" where employees reenact the situation, attaching the defibrillator to a mannequin while administering CPR. The drill incorporates three individuals, with each person taking a turn at resuscitating the individual.
The training is becoming a model for other industries.
"There are companies out there, and I'm associated with one called Cardio Ready, and these companies actually model what they do after the Vegas model," said cardiologist Dr. Kevin Campbell. "They manage AEDs for hotels, businesses and banks, and that sort of thing."
Slattery calls the security officers the "special forces" since the officers arrive within the first minutes of cardiac arrest. It looks to be a special force that's definitely worth betting on.