Posts Tagged The American Heart Association

Drive to require high school portable defibrillator training

The Chicago Tribune had an article last week about a push to require high school training for portable defibrillator use.

George Laman wonders why nobody used the nearby portable defibrillator to restart his daughter’s heart when she died while practicing with her high school drill team. Eric Bell says he is alive today because his son learned CPR.

Now their two suburban families have formed a partnership that’s behind state legislation to require high school students to learn how to use the heart-starting device and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They’ve already won overwhelming approval in the Illinois House for a measure that’s similar to laws in eight states, and they’re setting their sights on Senate passage after the bill sailed out of a committee Tuesday.

There’s no money for school districts to pay for such training, however. Democratic Rep. Dan Burke of Chicago, the chief House sponsor suggests that local fire departments provide lifesaving lessons for free, as organizations like the Red Cross and American Heart Association already do. “They will train the school employees who will train the students,” he said.

But a group representing school boards throughout the state is opposed, saying the well-intentioned measure would amount to “another unfunded mandate,” given the state’s precarious financial situation.

The bill is backed by the American Heart Association, which says the use of CPR or an automated external defibrillator can double or triple survival rates. But CPR or AED must be administered immediately because for every minute that passes without assistance, the victim’s chance of survival decreases by 10 percent, giving paramedics less than 10 minutes to arrive, said Alex Meixner, the Illinois spokesman for the American Heart Association.

Laman’s only daughter, Lauren, 18, was a senior working on a dance routine in February 2008 when she collapsed and died in the St. Charles North High School cafeteria. She previously had been diagnosed with a heart condition called mitral valve prolapse, Kane County coroner and court records showed. She had been cleared by a family doctor to participate in athletics, and school officials had been notified of her condition, records showed.

To Eric Bell’s family, CPR is a lifesaver that needs to be taught statewide. In January, the 50-year-old Elmhurst resident’s heart stopped because of a blockage in one of his arteries. What saved Bell was 12 minutes of CPR performed by his son, Harry, and his wife, Brigette, until paramedics arrived at their home and took over, said Dr. Anand Ramanathan, the first to treat Bell.

Harry is a 17-year-old junior at Fenwick High School, a Catholic school in Oak Park where he learned CPR during his freshman health class. Brigette Bell’s only training came from watching CPR given at restaurant only a week before her husband’s heart attack.

Now that portable defibrillators are more readily available and easy to use, Laman said, education is the next needed step.

thanks Dan

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Area fire departments receive donations

The Southtown Star has an article about the donation of medical equipment to several fire departments:

Franciscan Alliance Foundation St. James Health recently donated state-of-the-art, 12-lead electrocardiogram equipment to the fire departments in Country Club Hills, Homewood and University Park for installation in their ambulances, according to a press release from Franciscan Alliance.

The equipment will allow first responders in those communities to perform 12-lead ECGs at the scene of emergencies for those who may be having a heart attack, including STEMI, a severe form of heart attack, the release said.

The 12-lead system shows abnormal ECG tracings that indicate blockage of a cardiac artery and transmits the information in real time to Franciscan St. James Health, the release said. This allows the hospital’s emergency department and cardiac catheterization lab to prepare for the patient’s arrival while the patient is being transported. The quicker that patients experiencing STEMI receive treatment, the more likely they are to have a positive outcome, the release said.

The American Heart Association estimates that nearly 400,000 people in the United States experience STEMI every year, according to the release. Studies have reported a significant relationship between the pre-hospital 12-lead ECGs and shorter “door to balloon” times, with recent studies showing the effect was strongest when the cath lab was activated while the patient was still en route to the hospital, according to Franciscan Alliance.

“Our goal is to reduce the time it takes to get patients to treatment,” Franciscan St. James chief medical officer Daniel Netluch said in the release. “The 20 to 30 minutes we can save by getting this information while the patient is in transit will help us to save heart muscle, and, ultimately more lives, as well as improving quality of life for these patients.”

Forging partnerships with these communities, as well as Chicago Heights, Frankfort, Matteson and Monee, has helped Franciscan St. James to be the first and only south suburban hospital to earn Chest Pain Center accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, according to the release.

thanks Dan

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