Local individuals, organizations played vital role in establishing the office
On June 1, 2022, Colorado became the first state to establish an office exclusively dedicated to saving people who experience cardiac arrest. House Bill 22-1251, sponsored by Rep. Dylan Roberts and Sen. Jeff Bridges, took effect on July 1 and established the Office of Cardiac Arrest Management, which will collect data on cardiac arrest incidents across the state and look for ways to increase patient survivability. This will impact best practices and potentially demonstrate an improvement in cardiac arrest survivability statewide.
Sudden cardiac arrest is the nation’s No. 1 cause of death. It can happen to anyone at any time and at any age, without any known preexisting condition. According to the American Heart Association, incidents of sudden cardiac arrest reached 475,000 in 2021 and that number continues to climb.
Colorado is one of the first states to establish such an office, raising awareness of sudden cardiac arrest. The office will promote the use of public access defibrillators and of registries, informing the public of defibrillator locations that can be used in the event of a public sudden cardiac arrest.
Until recently, data about sudden cardiac arrest deaths were tracked internally among agencies but were not shared. In 2019, Eagle County-based nonprofit Starting Hearts worked to create the statewide Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival — or CARES. The registry recorded instances of cardiac arrest around the state but had trouble connecting that data to survival outcomes.
“We are so grateful for everyone that came together to put this bill together, especially the SCA Action Committee, as well as key contributors including Chris Roller, vice president of Advocacy at the American Heart Association,” Roberts said. “This was truly a widespread effort where we can all be very proud of the outcome.”
Roberts worked to secure passage of the legislature and said the bill started by working with constituents in his district.
“Sudden cardiac arrest can impact any one of us at any time and the State of Colorado needs to do more to help save lives when it strikes,” he said. “This new law is literally going to save lives by funding more outreach on how to use AEDs, cut red tape for data collection, and officially recognize addressing sudden cardiac arrest as a major priority in our state health department.”
Organizations that also played a key role passing this legislation include Lynn Blake, a sudden cardiac arrest survivor and board member of the Eagle County Paramedic Services, the Emergency Medical Services Association of Colorado, all of Colorado’s 11 Regional Emergency and Trauma Advisory Councils, Eagle County Paramedic Services, Falck Rocky Mountain and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“Ten years ago, no one in the state could tell me our regional or statewide survival rates,” Blake said. “This realization catapulted me on a decade-long journey to track SCA in Eagle County and all of Colorado. We officially have data thanks to Jillian Moore, CO CARES State Coordinator, and EMS agencies for voluntarily contributing incidents to the registry for the last two years. And now, thanks to Rep. Roberts and Sen. Bridges, Colorado will have the critical data and resources to address SCA. Working with collaborative stakeholders to pass this progressive legislation is truly a dream come true.”
The Office of Cardiac Arrest Management, which will be located in the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, allows for the hiring of a state coordinator to handle the coordination of the collection of sudden cardiac arrest data, including outcome data from hospitals. The state will initiate an outreach campaign to raise public awareness and maintain a list of training and education programs offered in Colorado to teach life-saving skills. A defibrillator registry coordinator and other personnel will be hired as needed.
SOURCE: Vail Daily