SCAFoundation's blog

SCAFoundation's blog

The Target Case Attracts a Crowd: Update on an Important AED Case

In the case of Verdugo v. Target, the California Supreme Court is considering whether there is a common law duty requiring commercial property owners in the state to have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) available for use in situations involving sudden cardiac arrest. A number of outside parties on both sides of the question have now filed additional briefs setting the stage for some very interesting oral arguments (not yet scheduled) before the Supreme Court. This is one of the most important AED cases to come along and has the potential to profoundly affect public access defibrillation in the U.S.

Taking Life Into Your Own Hands

Millions of people have been trained in CPR in recent decades, yet when people who aren’t in hospitals collapse from a sudden cardiac arrest, relatively few bystanders attempt resuscitation. Only one-fourth to one-third of those who might be helped by CPR receive it before paramedics arrive.

With so many people trained, why isn’t bystander CPR done more often?

For one thing, people forget what to do: the panic that may ensue is not conducive to accurate recall. Even those with medical training often can’t remember the steps just a few months after learning them. Rather than make a mistake, some bystanders simply do nothing beyond calling 911, even though emergency dispatchers often tell callers how to perform CPR.

Then there is the yuck factor: performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a stranger. So pervasive is the feeling of reluctance that researchers decided to study whether rescue breathing is really necessary.

Putting the FDA's Recent Safety Communication in Context

Philips HeartStart FRx, Home, and OnSite AEDs are safe and effective, and owners should not hesitate to retrieve and use these life-saving devices in cardiac arrest emergencies. That’s the lead. Yet, you wouldn’t know that from all the frightening media headlines generated in response to the recent FDA safety communication regarding these AEDs. Nor from the plaintiff’s lawyers who are already soliciting cases involving these devices (imagine what they would say if one of these AEDs wasn’t used to try to save an SCA victim).

Today is #Giving Tuesday

Giving TuesdayBlack Friday and Cyber Monday have passed. Today is a day to give back.

It's Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving that celebrates the spirit of generosity. 

With your support, the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, an official 2013 Giving Tuesday partner, named a 2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit by Great Nonprofits, can continue to conduct vital programs designed to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and help save lives.

Should Student Athletes Undergo Cardiac Screening?

The New England Journal of Medicine has posted a poll regarding cardiac screening before participation in high school sports. It poses the question whether athletes should undergo cardiac screening, and if so whether that should include not only a history and physical, but also an electrocardiogram (ECG). What do you think? 

Excerpt from NEJM 

This interactive feature addresses the approach to a clinical issue. A case vignette is followed by specific options, none of which can be considered correct or incorrect. In short essays, experts in the field then argue for each of the options. Readers can participate in forming community opinion by choosing one of the options and, if they like, providing their reasons.

Teen Organizes EKG Screening in Pittsburgh

Alyssa, left, and fellow studentWe commend Alyssa Mehlhorn, for her work as a volunteer for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, and in particular, for organizing a heart screening for fellow students as her senior high school project.
Alyssa Mehlhorn couldn’t decide on a topic for her senior research paper. She wanted to focus on a debate in the medical community and wasn’t having much luck, until her grandmother, a volunteer for The Max Schewitz Foundation, suggested Sudden Cardiac Death in teens. 
The high school senior began to research the topic and quickly learned EKG testing for high school students was definitely a debate.

Alison Ellison's Gift to the Schools of Georgia

Alison EllisonA dedicated nurse for more than 40 years, Alison Ellison will retire this fall after decades of wholeheartedly caring for patients, advocating preventive care and educating healthcare providers.  We are deeply grateful for her service and would like to take a moment to thank Alison for her invaluable role within the 2004-2013 “life” of Project SAVE. 

CPR in the Hospital Is Not Always Good for the Patient

On TV it always seems clear and simple. A patient in the hospital goes into cardiac arrest and the medical team springs into action. After a few tense moments of furious activity, and only after all seems lost, the patient is successfully revived. A few scenes later the smiling and now fully healthy patient thanks the doctor and returns to his or her life as a professional athlete, parent of young children, or criminal mastermind.

Medical professionals know that in real life this is rarely the way it goes. Most patients who undergo cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are old, frail, and very sick. Many will die and many who survive CPR will die anyway before leaving the hospital. And many survivors will have severe neurological problems.

AEDs: An Easy But Largely Unknown Way to Save a Life

Sudden cardiac arrest -- when, without warning, the heart instantly stops beating -- kills 350,000 Americans of various ages and occupations a year, according to the American Heart Association.

Yet now, with high school sports teams in intensive training for their fall seasons, now is when we are most aware of these fatalities because of a tragic drama: A young athlete in peak condition, who has never flunked a physical or shown the faintest symptom of cardiac problems, suddenly collapses.

Death is usually all but instantaneous -- but it is not necessarily inevitable, not if a device called an automated external defibrillator, or AED, and someone willing to use it are close at hand.

Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, which usually is caused by blocked arteries and often gives some advance warning. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the electrical impulses that control the heart suddenly misfire.

Sudden Cardiac Deaths Among Volunteer Firefighters--and Everyone Else

Thankfully, the number of deaths among volunteer firefighters in the U.S. has declined to a record low--27 such deaths in 2012. During the same time period, the overall incidence of sudden cardiac death in the U.S. was about 324,000 (359,400 x 90 percent survival). So, the number of people dying from sudden cardiac arrest every hour in the U.S. (~37) is roughly equivalent to the number of volunteer firefighters who die each year from SCA (27). Maybe we ought to be applying what is working for volunteer firefighters to the general public. 

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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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