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February is American Heart Month
American Heart Month occurs in February and is an annual designation by Congress for Americans to become better educated about heart health and lead heart-healthier lives.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA) has provided the public with an increase awareness of heart health and Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) among the general public.
Resuscitation from SCA
When someone collapses from SCA, immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) are essential for any chance of recovery. The AED analyzes the heart rhythm of the victim, and if necessary, a computerized command will instruct the user to press a button to deliver an appropriate shock to restore the normal operation of the heart.
These devices are failsafe and will not cause injury to the user, nor will they deliver a shock if none is needed. For patients in “VF”, studies show that if early defibrillation is provided within the first minute, the odds are 90 percent that the victim’s life can be saved. After that, the rate of survival drops ten percent with every minute.
As many as 30 to 50 percent would likely survive if CPR and AEDs were used within five minutes of collapse.
Many heart failure patients who have either suffered an SCA or are at risk, have surgery to implant a small device called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD. ICDs are designed to recognize certain types of arrhythmias and correct them with a shock. Ninety five percent of lethal ventricular arrhythmias were shown to be effectively terminated by ICDs.
Who is at risk?
SCA can strike persons of any age, gender, race, and even those who seem in good health, as evidenced by world class professional athletes at the peak of fitness. Many patients who may be at risk are not being identified, screened and given options for medical treatment. If someone has any of the following risk factors or symptoms, he/she should discuss with a doctor whether further heart testing and/or evaluation by an electrophysiologist (EP) or cardiologist is necessary.
*History of early heart disease, heart attack or cardiac death in the family
*Unexplained fainting or near fainting or palpitations
*Chest pain, shortness of breath or fainting with exertion (such as during sports)
*Heart failure or heart attack
*Weak heart muscle or a cardiac ejection fraction (EF) of less than 40 percent (EF refers to the percentage of blood that is pumped out of the heart’s main pumping chamber during each heartbeat)
*Cardiac risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, or high cholesterol
For more information on AEDs and how to obtain one for your business or organization, contact Med-Care Ambulance at 364-8748.