A few years ago I took a CPR course, and fortunately, I have never had to use it. (Although, I did come upon an unconscious woman about two weeks after taking the course - she was a diabetic and had passed out. She recovered fully.)
But, I was disturbed to learn how few heart attack victims were actually helped by CPR. However, the cardiac defibrillator has been reported to have remarkable results.
Orlando, Florida - People in cardiac arrest are twice as likely to survive in places where defibrillators are publicly available and volunteers have been trained to use them, according to a study reported at a meeting of the American Heart Association here.
That's nice if you have the big one where a defibrillator is available - not likely since 70% of heart attacks occur at home. So now, there's a defibrillator for the home made by Philips Medical Systems. It's a bit pricy at $2,300, and it's available only with a doctor's prescription. (That's to keep it out of the hands of terrorists, right? )
Update 11/13/03: Gruntdoc's Blog has an excellent commentary about this device and the situations in which it may or may not be of use.