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Announcement: National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month --- October 2010

October is National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, dedicated to educating patients and the public about what sudden cardiac arrest is and how to respond to a cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops beating, resulting in no blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. Approximately 300,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year in the United States, with a median reported survival-to-hospital-discharge rate of 8% (1).

Rapidly implementing the "chain of survival" model (2) can help increase the chances of survival from sudden cardiac arrest. The steps in the chain include activation of emergency medical services by calling 9-1-1, starting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), using an automated external defibrillator (AED), and acquiring appropriate care. This year marks the 50th anniversary of CPR; updated CPR guidelines will be released later this year by the American Heart Association (AHA).

Additional information about sudden cardiac arrest is available from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/scda/scda_whatis.html and from AHA at http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4741. Information about CPR is available from AHA at http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4479. Additional information about heart disease and stroke is available from CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp.

References

  1. Lloyd-Jones D, Adams RJ, Brown TM, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics---2010 update. Circulation 2010;121:e46--215.
  2. Cummins RO, Ornato JP, Thies WH, Pepe PE. Improving survival from sudden cardiac arrest: the "chain of survival" concept. A statement for health professionals from the Advanced Cardiac Life Support Subcommittee and the Emergency Cardiac Care Committee, American Heart Association. Circulation 1991;83:1832--47.


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