Yale Grads Donate Defibrillators to Engineering: Training Comes Full Circle

A gift of two semi-automatic, external defibrillators was made to Yale University Faculty of Engineering and Athletics by Defibtech, LLC of Guilford, Connecticut, highlighting the relationship between Yale and a lifesaving innovation by two of its graduates.

Sudden cardiac arrest strikes and kills more than 400,000 people each year, most with no warning. Unless victims receive treatment within minutes, the survival rate after sudden cardiac arrest is 2-5%. Rapid treatment increases the rate to well over 50%.

The Lifeline(tm) Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a portable, self-contained, self-monitoring system that is designed for simple and effective emergency use. The instructions are voice recordings and pictures that allow even an inexperienced individual to use the device effectively. In addition to being compact and easy to handle, it provides a personalized shock to defibrillate; it runs electrocardiogram measurements before and after the treatment and runs all necessary internal mechanical self-tests.

The donation to Engineering and Athletics at Yale is the result of a friendship that began between two students who met in the laboratory of the late professor Csaba Horváth, in the 1970s. Gintaras Vaisnys, a 1983 graduate of Yale College, was a gifted math student from Notre Dame High School taking accelerated courses at Yale. Glenn Laub was undergraduate who earned his degree in 1978. Vaisnys became an engineer and Laub went on to become a cardiac surgeon. In 1999, they formed Defibtech, LLC and began a collaboration to combine innovative engineering, cardiac expertise, and lifesaving technology.

“Engineering is not just problem sets; it is real world feedback that pays off in lives saved,” said Paul Fleury, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Frederick W. Beinecke Professor of Engineering & Applied Physics, on accepting the AED.

Barbara Chesler, senior associate director of Varsity Sports accepted the AED for the Athletics Department. This gift was encouraged by William Glover, a Yale engineering graduate in 1950, a Guilford resident and current volunteer in Engineering. It honors his brother who died after a cardiac arrest as he trained for the Olympics in 1956 at the Payne Whitney Gym.

Defibtech defibrillators are now routinely found on airplanes, in police and fire departments and on basic emergency vehicles. They are becoming available to businesses, athletic venues, schools and individuals.

Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with LinkedIn Share this with Email Print this

Media Contact

Janet Rettig Emanuel: janet.emanuel@yale.edu, 203-432-2157