It's here again - February is the American Heart Association's American Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and sudden cardiac arrest accounts for approximately 325,000 deaths each year. Everyone is at risk. There are no warning signs associated with SCA. It often affects those who have experienced heart attacks or heart failure, but it can also strike someone with absolutely no history of heart problems.
Resuscitation requires delivering a defibrillating shock to the heart along with early, persistent CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Although CPR alone almost never saves a victim of SCA, it can preserve the victim’s heart and brain until paramedics arrive with a defibrillator that can restore a normal heart rhythm. Many places where people congregate in large numbers now have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on site that can be used by lay rescuers to defibrillate the victim’s heart before paramedics arrive. Related stories:
Michigan Red Cross Advocates for AEDs in Schools Oregon Legislation Requires AEDs in Larger Businesses