Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month: Cardiac Science for the week of October 5

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

October is National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

The Heart Rhythm Society is kicking-off National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month in October and launching a multi-year campaign to call attention to SCA.

One of the key activities of the society’s SCA awareness campaign is educating people aboutthe difference between heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest.

National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month is an annual observance designated by the U.S. Congress in 2008.

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Great SCA poster you can download

Risk of sudden cardiac arrest halts a college basketball star

The Associated Press reports that University of California women’s basketball forward Tierra Rogers was declared medically ineligible to play after she was diagnosed with a form of heart disease that would make her vulnerable to sudden cardiac arrest. Rogers, a freshman, had trouble breathing during practice Sept. 21. She collapsed, and was taken by ambulance to a hospital for testing. After she was diagnosed with a heart condition, she received an implantable defibrillator.

College AEDs: Student revived at Fullerton College

“The AED worked by itself,” athletic trainer Juan Cuevas told the Fullerton College Hornet. Cuevas had been part of a group who came to the aid of a student athlete who collapsed in a parking lot of the California junior college. Using CPR and the athletic department’s automated external defibrillator (AED), they were able to revive the student before paramedics arrived.

The paper reported that head athletic trainer Lisa Nelson had begun CPR; a student called Cuevas, who brought the department’s AED and attached the pads. The machine then assessed the student’s condition and administered a shock. Cuevas continued CPR, and the student began breathing.

Paramedics transported the student to the hospital where he was put in a drug-induced coma. According to the newspaper report, Fullerton has three AEDs on campus.

Public safety defibrillators: Milwaukee police chief wants to equip squad cars

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has asked the city’s businesses to help pay for 230 automated external defibrillators, enough to equip all of the department’s squad cars. Milwaukee police officers have already taken AED training, the Milwaukee Business Journalreports.

While the department current has AEDs in administrative offices, no squad cars are equipped with them. Flynn is following the lead of the Milwaukee County sheriff’s office which has placed defibrillators in about half of its 150 vehicles.

In tight economic times, public safety agencies are getting creative about fundraising for AEDs. The in Madison County, Mississippi, reports that the Madison Fire Department is raffling off a four-wheeler to raise money for 12 AEDs to be placed in public buildings and businesses.

The Mississippi chapter of the American Heart Association is helping publicize the raffle and the need for public access to AEDs. “Sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack or other possible cardiac emergencies that may require an AED, can happen on the football field, during a bike ride or while dropping off the kids for an after-school activity,” Deborah Minor, a member of the chapter board, said.

Fire Department AED rescue — during a fire

Fire departments fight fires, and their paramedics respond to medical emergencies. Last month in Alexandria, Louisiana, the fire department got to do both at the same times. reports that Edgar “Smokey” Arnold got a late-night phone telling him that the building that housed his business was on fire, and he rushed to the scene. Arnold was certain that the chest pain he was experiencing was from worry and stress. Shortly after he arrived, a wall of the building collapsed, and, minutes later, Arnold collapsed as well.

The firefighters at the scene went into action, starting CPR and attaching the pads for the automated external defibrillator that’s part of their equipment. One shock from the AED restored Arnold’s pulse, and he was breathing on his own by the time the ambulance arrived.

Alexandria Fire EMS Chief Mickey Christy told the reporter that the rescue went perfectly according to the “chain of survival” communities aspire to create to handle cardiac emergencies: early access, early CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced care.

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