There are many reasons for a cardiac arrest. One of the most common reasons is coronary artery disease, which often affects the elderly. But there are many conditions which frequently cause cardiac arrests in young people, e.g. the long QT syndrome (LQTS) and myocarditis. They can occur everywhere, as well as in airplanes.
In addition to classical chest compressions, AEDs can be applied by non-medical bystanders. According to many studies, more patients survive a cardiac arrest when a defibrillator is present and applied within minutes after the cardiac arrest occurs. An emergency landing takes on average 15-20 minutes; the chances to survive a cardiac arrest drop by 10% a minute; therefore, a defibrillation must be applied as soon as possible.
Classical chest compressions are still very important. The use of AEDs and measures of cardiopulmonary resuscitation should be performed together. According to aviation rules, flight attendants have to be trained on medical emergencies. It is easy and takes just a short time to train flight attendants in the use of AEDs.