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Genes hold key to unexplained cardiac deaths in young people

New Zealand and Australian doctors are on the verge of discovering why some young people suddenly fall victim to cardiac death.Chris Semsarian

Preliminary numbers show 460 sudden cardiac deaths have been reported in both countries in the past three years, with 51 of these occurring in New Zealand, Australian cardiologist Chris Semsarian says.

Dr Semsarian, who presented early results of his three-year study at the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Pathology Update in Melbourne over the weekend, says gene analysis could confirm the underlying cause of these unexplained deaths.

Final results are expected in the middle of this year, he says.

Sudden cardiac death a silent killer

Sudden cardiac death in young people aged between one and 35 who are considered healthy is "like getting hit by a bolt of lightning", Dr Semsarian told New Zealand Doctor.

New class of drugs developed to treat cancer, reduces sudden cardiac death risk after heart attack

A researcher at the Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) at Rhode Island, The Miriam and Newport hospitals has found that a new class of drugs, originally developed to treat cancer, reduces sudden cardiac death risk after a heart attack. The findings were published online in advance of print in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"Currently, there are limited options to reduce sudden cardiac death following a heart attack," said principal investigator Samuel C. Dudley, M.D., Ph.D., chief of cardiology at the CVI. "The benefit of most drugs is limited, and they have additional side effects. Defibrillators are an option, but they cannot be safely implanted for 40 days following a heart attack."

Dudley continued, "This finding gives us hope for a new treatment model, and if approved, will provide physicians with new options to lower patients' risk of death from cardiac arrest."

Poll Reveals Nearly 80 Percent of Employed Adults Can’t Locate Their Workplace’s Defibrillator

CINCINNATI — Each year, approximately 300,000 people suffer out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) that require revival from an automated external defibrillator (AED). According to the results of a survey commissioned by Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS), a leader in first-aid and safety programs, although many workplaces have AEDs on site, it’s likely that a majority of workers would not be prepared to locate and use the units. The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive® among 2,019 adults ages 18 and older (of whom 916 are employed), found that 79 percent of employed adults do not know where their workplace’s AED is located.

Henry Ford Hospital Implants New Defibrillator for People at Risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

DETROIT, Dec. 16, 2013 -- /PRNewswire/ -- A new internal defibrillator, on the cusp of a new standard of care in American cardiology to treat patients for a major heart risk, is being used at Henry Ford Hospital.

Compared to the current devices used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, the new internal defibrillator has less risk of infection, no clots forming in blood vessels, no lead perforation through the heart wall, or puncturing the lining of the lung. Also, the lead is not subject to normal wear and tear of heart movement, as it is just under the skin, not inside the heart, which can cause breakdown of leads, thus needing to replace them.

Internal defibrillators are small devices, similar to pacemakers, which send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore its normal rhythm. The lead is the flexible electrical wire that conducts the shock from the defibrillator to the heart.

AED training added to school health requirements

While graduating from high school has many requirements, Washington students have another: training in saving lives.

Under House Bill 1556, students are now required to have training in using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to help save someone going into cardiac arrest. The law was passed on May 8 of this year, and it became effective at the end of July. Before graduating from high school, students are required to have taken a health class that offers CPR and AED training.

“This has real-world applications,” said Lt. John Payne, who works for the City of Bremerton Fire Department. Payne and a few others volunteer to train Bremerton High School students for emergency situations that may require resuscitation.

“I think it is a great mandate,” he said of the new policy. Payne noted that many requirements for students have been put in place that don’t necessarily apply to real-world situations.

This policy, however, does, Payne said.

Keep Your Holidays Happy and Healthy with Sudden Cardiac Arrest Protection

CardioReady offers a few revealing facts reinforcing the need for greater SCA preparedness in the workplace

As you toast your employees for another year of hard work and spread holiday cheer throughout the office, why not thank them with the best gift you can give - a safe work environment – all year round. CardioReady, a leader in helping organizations to prevent fatalities from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) through its turn-key solutions and training, is wishing organizations nationwide a healthful and joyful holiday season by offering a seasonal infographic to encourage employers to increase SCA preparedness as we head into the new year.

San Diego County to Adopt CPR Smartphone App

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a coupling of the region's emergency response system with a smartphone app that would notify people with CPR training when someone in their immediate vicinity is suffering sudden cardiac arrest.

County officials said sudden cardiac arrest can occur in outwardly healthy people, and it claims nearly 1,000 lives daily throughout the country. It can be treated with early CPR, defibrillation, advanced cardiac life support and mild therapeutic hypothermia, which is most effective when started in three to five minutes, officials said.

However, emergency response times can often be six minutes or longer, Supervisor Ron Roberts said.

"Clearly the faster first responders can get to the victim, the greater the opportunity for saving lives," Roberts said.

Stress Test Chemicals Could Cause Heart Attacks And Death, FDA Warns

Nov 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned physicians on Wednesday that two chemicals used to conduct cardiovascular stress tests can cause heart attacks and death, and it suggested resuscitation equipment and trained staff be available when the tests are conducted.

The injectable products, Lexiscan and Adenoscan, are marketed by Astellas Pharma US Inc. They work by stressing the heart, allowing physicians to take images that can show areas of low blood flow and damaged heart muscle. The tests are given to patients who are physically unable to exercise.

The FDA said heart attacks may be triggered by the tests because the chemicals dilate the heart's arteries and increase blood flow to help identify obstructions. Blood flows more easily to unblocked arteries, which can reduce blood flow to an obstructed artery. In some cases, that can lead to a heart attack, the agency said.

CPR for 38 Minutes or Longer Improves Chance to Survive Cardiac Arrest

Conventional wisdom suggests that performing CPR for more than 20 minutes is futiile. A new study shows that performing CPR for 38 minutes or more can be beneficial.

Performing CPR for 38 minutes or longer can improve a patient's chance of surviving cardiac arrest, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions. Sustaining CPR that long also improves the chances that survivors will have normal brain function, researchers said.

Cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, causing it to suddenly stop beating. About 80 percent of cardiac arrests -- nearly 288,000 people -- occur outside of a hospital each year, and fewer than 10 percent survive, according to the American Heart Association.

Is your school heart safe?

To receive a HEARTSafe designation, a school must do cardiac emergency response drills, have a medical emergency response plan, ensure 10 percent of staff is CPR-certified, inspect defibrillators and ensure student athletes are screened properly with physicals.

A new program is being launched to recognize Michigan schools that are prepared for cardiac arrests.

Schools find out if they're a MI HEARTSafe School at the end of this academic year. The program will continue in future years.

It's being sponsored by the Michigan Departments of Community Health and Education along with the American Heart Association and a group focused on preventing sudden cardiac deaths.

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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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