Helping Students Survive Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Right now, millions of students across the country are participating in physical activities at their schools – a basketball or soccer game, football and cheerleading practice or gym class. What if one of them had a life-threatening cardiac emergency? Would the school be prepared?

Sudden cardiac arrest strikes more than 340,000 Americans each year, including children and teens, usually without warning. Heart conditions tend to go undetected and often manifest themselves during physical activity. In the event of a cardiac arrest, a quick response and the early use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) are critical to improving the chances of survival.

According to the American Heart Association, early use of AEDs – portable devices that analyze the heart’s rhythm and deliver an electric shock to reestablish a normal heartbeat -could raise the chance of survival by 20 percent or more.

“Nearly 95 percent of cardiac arrest victims die – usually because defibrillation occurs too late,” said Dr. Vincent Mosesso Jr. of the National Center for Early Defibrillation based at the University of Pittsburgh. “Every minute that passes before returning the heart to a normal rhythm decreases the chance of survival by 10 percent. Patients who receive CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] and a defibrillator shock within three minutes of going into sudden cardiac arrest have the best odds of survival.”

Unfortunately, many schools aren’t equipped with AEDs.

For that reason, Duracell and Zoll Medical Corp. have teamed up to help inform parents and educators about the importance of being prepared for these critical situations.

“Through this campaign, we want to work with communities across the country to provide their schools with the tools necessary to help save lives,” said Kara Salzillo, manager of brand communications for Duracell.

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