Photo: Getty Images
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) has to be one of the most devastating cardiac events that a person can suffer. Unlike a heart attack, which provides victims with some advanced warning - shortness of breath, nausea, and chest pain, for example - SCA provides no advanced warning to its victims. Because SCA is caused by an electrical malfunction of the heart and not a blockage, victims have no symptoms until the moment the heart actually stops beating. More than 300,000 persons in the United States die each year as a result of SCD. To put this in perspective, that's more than deaths from AIDS, breast cancer and lung cancer combined.
Because SCA provides no advanced warning, it’s critical that victims receive immediate medical intervention such as defibrillation. The survival rate from SCA is very poor and the chances diminish ten percent for each minute that passes. Estimates are that the survival rate for SCA is approximately eight percent. In a one of a kind program, The HeartRescue Project is trying to change this statistic and give victims of SCA a fighting chance to live.
Funded by the Medtronic Foundation, the goal of The HeartRescue Project is to improve SCA survival rates by 50 percent over the next five years in five pilot states: Arizona, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington. The HeartRescue Project brings together selected HeartRescue Partners known for innovation in treatment, research, and expertise relating to SCA in an effort to collaborate, share knowledge, information, best practices and create SCA treatment programs which are reproducible and measurable. The HeartRescue Partners include:
*Arizona – University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center and Arizona Department of Health Services
*Minnesota: University of Minnesota, Cardiovascular Division, Allina Transportation, Regions Hospital, Hennepin County Medical Center, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Health East, North Memorial Hospital, Gold Cross Ambulance, Minnesota Ambulance Association, Minnesota Hospital Association, and Minnesota Department of Health.
*North Carolina - Duke University, Wake County EMS, North Carolina Office of EMS, and University of North Carolina