Reducing firefighters’ risk of sudden cardiac arrest: Cardiac Science for the week of Nov. 1

Heart Safe news: Our weekly update on what’s happening in the world of heart safety and noninvasive cardiology

Reducing firefighters’ risk of sudden cardiac arrest

Seattle’s KING 5 reports that University of Pittsburgh researchers are testing two high-tech cooling techniques to reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac arrest among firefighters.

Smoke, toxic fumes, searingly hot temperatures, and exertion while wearing as much as 70 pounds of gear are factors in sudden cardiac arrest, the leading cause of death for on-duty firefighters.

While fighting a fire in a burning building, a firefighter’s body temperature can rise to 104 degrees. This can increase the risk of a serious heart incident. The Pittsburgh researchers are testing both vests (designed to cool the body’s core) and portable chairs with cooling arm rests. These solutions are being compared to the traditional cool down for firefighters, which is simply taking a break.

After losing son to sudden cardiac arrest, New York mom campaigns for AEDs, cardiac screening

Melinda Murray wants to see automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at stadiums, ballfields, and gyms — plus cardiac screenings for students before they can play school sports.
That’s because a year ago her 17-year-old son, Dominic, collapsed on the basketball court of sudden cardiac arrest, from which he later died.
New York Post sportswriter Dylan Butler wrote Sunday about Dominic’s death and his mom’s crusade to protect other student athletes. Dominic, who died while playing basketball at Farmingdale State College, had an undiagnosed heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Cardiac screening involving electrocardiogram (ECG) and echocardiogram tests can diagnose hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and other heart conditions that render children vulnerable to sudden cardiac arrest during sports. Melinda Murray is working with state legislators to draft a bill to requiring cardiac screenings for student athletes.
Murray has established the Dominic A. Murray 21 Memorial Foundation (the 21 refers to the number her son wore at Farmingdale). The foundation provides free cardiac screenings for high school student-athletes and promotes CPR/AED training and awareness.
“The only thing that may have saved Dominic’s life was an automated external defibrillator (AED). Sadly, help arrived too late,” the foundation’s website notes. “Equipping places where youth congregate with AEDS, along with the help of CPR/AED-trained individuals, can give youth stricken by SCA another chance at life.”