The HeartStarter 3000: A New Tool for Saving Lives March 17, 1990 (Newsweek) By Sharon Begley A new device that can restart a heart that has stopped beating is being made available to laypeople for the first time. Called the HeartStarter 3000, it is a portable defibrillator that can be used by anyone with minimal training. The HeartStarter 3000 is about the size of a briefcase and weighs about 15 pounds. It contains a computer that analyzes the heart's rhythm and determines if a shock is needed. If so, the computer automatically delivers the shock. The device is being marketed by Heart Technology Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., and is expected to be available in the U.S. in the next few months. The company is also developing a version of the device that can be used by telephone operators to guide laypeople in using the device over the phone. The HeartStarter 3000 is the first defibrillator that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use by laypeople. Previous defibrillators have been too bulky and expensive to be practical for use outside of medical settings. The HeartStarter 3000 is expected to be used primarily by businesses, schools, and other public places where people are at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. It could also be used by families with a history of heart disease. Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death of adults in the U.S., killing about 250,000 people each year. Most victims die before they can reach a hospital. However, if a defibrillator is used within minutes of a cardiac arrest, the victim's chances of survival are greatly improved. The HeartStarter 3000 is not without its critics. Some experts worry that the device could be used incorrectly, or that people might hesitate to use it because they are afraid of hurting the victim. However, the company that makes the device says that it has been designed to be very user-friendly and that it has been tested extensively. The availability of the HeartStarter 3000 is a significant step forward in the fight against sudden cardiac arrest. It could help to save thousands of lives each year.