April 5th, 2010

Easter Resurrection

An Easter service celebrating the resurrection took on special significance for a New York congregation when a worshiper was revived after at least 17 defibrillator shocks.

The dramatic story, reported by our colleague Jane Lerner of The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News, tells of Ed Ilarraza, 58, an insurance agent who needed an ambulance after collapsing at Gracepoint Gospel Fellowship in New City.

Before the medics left the scene with their patient, Ilarraza went into cardiac arrest -- no pulse or breathing. He was shocked seven times before arriving at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, N.Y., where he received 10 more shocks while family and church members prayed.

Then, as rescuers were about to cease their efforts, his heart started to beat.

Dr. Cary Hirsch inserted two stents into Ilarraza's cardiac arteries. The patient recognized family members Monday when he was brought out of an induced coma.

Wearable Defibrillator Provides Safety for Heart Attack Survivors

Something as easy to wear as your clothes could help save your life.

The life of heart attack patient Stacey Alcala nearly ended without warning. "My chest was caving in and my arm was going numb."

Alcala had a heart attack, something she never thought would happen at age 29. "I'm very active, eat right - best I can. Exercise a lot."

All of that did not stop her artery from tearing. "The only thing that came to my head was what could this do to my girls?'

Alcala survived and was sent home from the hospital with one of these -- the first wearable defibrillator. Heart attack survivors like her are at a 12 percent increased risk for a sudden cardiac arrest the first three months following the attack.

April 2nd

Runners Saving Runners

CHARLESTON, NC--A strong faith and a good team of medical
professionals is hard to beat. And if you are a runner about to suffer sudden
cardiac arrest, there's probably no better place to be than in the midst of a
large group of running enthusiasts - who happen to be doctors and nurses - and
close to the MUSC Heart and Vascular Center.

Steve Aceto, 54, of Montreat, N.C., will attest to that after
surviving a heart attack during the recent Cooper River Bridge Run.

April 1st

A Save at the LA Marathon

Jay Yim, 21, had worked on improving his fitness since age 15. In preparation for this year's Los Angeles Marathon on March 21, the University of Southern California pre-med student had been training with a marathon club and regularly did 10-mile runs on his own.
The day before the race, he had a carbo-loading dinner with his club members. According to his brother Roy, who spoke with him that night, Jay sounded fine and ready to go.

On race day, Roy watched his brother's progress on the marathon website.

"They had a feature that allowed you to monitor a runner as he passed each milepost," Roy said. "The computer estimate said, based on his progress, he'd finish in 3:15."

But as Jay reached mile 18, something went terribly wrong. He grabbed his chest and collapsed onto the road. He'd suffered a cardiac arrest.

School Nurse Saves Student's Life

BISMARCK, IL — Fifteen minutes before dismissal at Bismarck-Henning Junior High School quickly became the longest minutes of Josie Siddens’ life.

Siddens, the nurse for the school district, was returning to her office March 25 when a student came running up, telling her 12-year-old Ashton Norwell was screaming in the gymnasium.

Norwell was being led to Siddens’ office because he felt sick when he began to cry out in pain. But by the time Siddens — who was only seconds from the gymnasium — arrived, the boy was unresponsive and not breathing.

From there, Siddens went into action, moving the boy to the gym floor with the help of a gym teacher while Principal Rusty Campbell called 911. Another gym teacher stepped into the hallway to retrieve an automated external defibrillator hanging on the wall.

Talking about the scene Thursday, Siddens admitted a lot of it was a blur.

Survivor State Rep. Carney Advocates for AED Placement in Churches

CHARLOTTE, NC--Almost one year to the day that an
automated external defibrillator (AED) helped save her life during sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), state Rep. Becky Carney launched a program Thursday to make the devices
available to others in need.

Carney was among a group of dignitaries gathering
Thursday morning at the Carole Hoefener Center in uptown Charlotte's First Ward
to publicize the Lucky Hearts Campaign.

Be Strong - Never Give Up

Claire Dunlap, Boynton Beach, FL – 15 at time of event (2009)

Claire Dunlap

The softball team had won that Wednesday afternoon in West Boca High School. Claire, the varsity centerfield starter, was huddled with her team members on right field, talking about the next days practice. She fell over and started to gasp.

"I was turning blue and making snorting sounds," Claire said. "I was trying to get air into my lungs." Her Mom, Patti, was in the stands and didn't know just how serious it was.

March 31st

Basketball Buddies Are Lifesavers

A Suwanee man has rebounded quickly from a potentially fatal heart attack with the help of his basketball buddies and lifesaving technology.

It was nearing halftime during a recreational league game at Suwanee Sports Academy on Dec. 19 when Mike Lulko suddenly felt dizzy. With his wife and two children watching in the stands, the 49-year-old collapsed.

His teammates -- Ken Manning, Will Hamilton and Lance Cook -- work in the medical imaging business and are trained in CPR. They took turns trying to resuscitate Lulko, but couldn't get a pulse. That's when Manning yelled for someone to retrieve an Automatic External Defibrillator from the lobby.

"I hooked him up, and he was almost in a flatline," Manning said. "His heart was in ventricular fibrillation, which means his heart was just kind of quivering there."

March 26th

Police Investigate Sudden Death of RMU Student

Amanda Marie Werkmeister. Found In Cardiac Arrest

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The Allegheny County medical examiner is trying to figure out what happened to a Robert Morris University student who died after being found in cardiac arrest near her apartment in Moon Township on Monday.

According to police reports, a roommate found Amanda "Mandy" Marie Werkmeister suffering cardiac arrest in the Waterford Landing apartment complex. Police and paramedics performed CPR and used an AED on Werkmeister, of Bethel Park. She was taken to Sewickley Valley Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Since the cause of death was not immediately determined and because of Werkmeister's young age, Moon police asked Allegheny County homicide detectives to help with the investigation. Police said everyone involved has cooperated fully with officers.

Investigators are waiting for word from the medical examiner's office on the exact cause of death.

March 23rd

Free Heart Screening for West Coast Florida Teens

Monday, the national Cardiac Arrhythmia Syndromes (CAS) Foundation, together with All Children’s Specialty Physicians and Hillsborough County Public Schools, held a press conference to announce that a new, free teen heart screening program for high school students called the SafeBeat Initiative will begin in Hillsborough County starting next week.

According to reporter Letitia Stein, this is the largest such voluntary screening effort of seemingly healthy high school students.

Typically, many college health services such as the University of Florida target cardiac screening for student athletes, but not the rest of the student population.

Mission & Vision

The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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