Home Heart Shocker

A do-it-yourself defibrillator gets the FDA's O.K. Does your house need one?

E.R. doctors talk about a "golden hour" after someone suffers a heart attack or stroke, during which prompt medical attention can lead to complete or nearly complete recovery. But when it comes to cardiac arrest, in which the heart's electrical signals become so disorganized that it can no longer pump blood, that precious window is reduced to just a minute or two. For each minute that the heart is not shocked, or defibrillated, back to normal, a person's chance of survival drops 10%. After 10 minutes, the chances of survival--not to mention recovery--shrink to nearly zero.

Those long odds got a...

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