Category Archives: AEDs in Gyms

How Obesity Plays a Deadly Role in Cardiac Arrest Among Young People

The Good News? Early Screening for Cardiovascular Risk Factors Can Save Lives.


We all know that being overweight or obese is bad for your health, but did you know the extent to which obesity and other risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol are linked to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in young people between the ages of five and 34?

A recent study conducted by Sumeet S. Chugh, MD, medical director of Cedars-Sinai’s Heart Rhythm Center in Los Angeles and a leader in sudden cardiac death research, found that easily identifiable cardiovascular risk factors were common in young people who suffer from cardiac arrest.

First, a quick word about SCA. Unlike a heart attack, which occurs when one or more coronary artery becomes blocked, SCA occurs when the heart stops beating, stopping the flow of blood to the brain and to other vital organs. SCA often occurs abruptly and without warning. If the heartbeat is not restored with an electrical shock, death follows within minutes. In fact, SCA accounts for more than 350,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Cardiac arrest claims one life every 90 seconds and accounts for more deaths than colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, influenza, pneumonia, auto accidents, HIV, firearms, and house fires combined (Heart Rhythm Society).

Obesity can significantly increase the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, and all three of these conditions are closely connected with heart disease. In fact, Science Daily reports that being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk of coronary heart disease by up to 28% compared to those with a healthy body weight, even if they have healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels!

We recently investigated What Causes Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Young People and found that although causes of SCA in children and young adults vary, death is often a result of genetic heart abnormalities, structural abnormalities, or commotio cordis caused by athletic activity. However, researchers at Cedars-Sinai have discovered that obesity and other common (and often preventable) cardiovascular risk factors may play a much greater role in SCA in children and younger people than previously known.

Obesity, Other Risks Play Large Role in Sudden Cardiac Arrest Among the Young,” an article published by the hospital about Dr. Chugh’s study, notes that “Combinations of obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking were found in nearly 60 percent of cases studied. The findings shed light on a public health problem among the young that has remained largely unsolved.”

“One of the revelations of this study is that risk factors such as obesity may play a much larger role for the young people who die from sudden cardiac arrest than previously known,” said Dr. Chugh.

The comprehensive 16-hospital, multiyear assessment was conducted as part of the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study.  The study was partially funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Routine Preventative Visits May Reduce Cardiovascular Risk

In the article, Dr. Chugh suggests extending prevention efforts (such as offering resources for smoking cessation programs, sharing exercise guidelines, and tips for healthy eating) to include routine preventive screenings for children and young adults. This addition could help reduce cardiovascular risk.

“The added benefit of such screenings is that early efforts to reduce cardiovascular risk are known to translate into reduction of adult cardiovascular disease,” he said.

These visits, typically covered at no charge by health insurance providers (healthcare.gov), usually include screenings, checkups, and counseling. The goal of these visits is to help prevent health problems before a young person at risk for sudden cardiac arrest experiences any symptoms. By reducing known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, we may simultaneously lower the number of deaths caused by cardiac arrest.

We hope you’ll visit our blog in the coming weeks for more information on smoking cessation and for strategies to prevent heart disease. In the meantime, if you’re thinking about purchasing a new or recertified AED for your home or workplace, or you’d like to schedule AED training or maintenance, visit AED.com or call Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. We also welcome your emails, you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

What Causes Sudden Death in Young People?

These 4 Heart Problems Are Often Blamed for Sudden Death in Young People

Although thankfully very rare, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) claims the lives of an estimated 6,000-8,000 individuals under the age of 35 each year (Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation).  While a vast majority of the more than 356,000 cardiac arrests that are recorded each year occur in adults over the age of 35 who suffer from coronary artery disease, these numbers are still something to be concerned about. The Mayo Clinic estimates that perhaps 1 in every 50,000 SCA deaths a year occurs in young athletes.

While it’s uncommon, and millions of elementary, high school, and collegiate athletes compete each year without incident, SCA can happen at any time and to anyone. If you think that you or your child might be at risk of sudden death, be sure to talk to your doctor about precautions you can take.

What Causes Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Young People?

Causes of SCA in children and young adults vary; however, most often death is a result of genetic heart abnormalities, structural abnormalities, or commotio cordis.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Typically an inherited condition, HCM causes the heart muscle cells to enlarge and which then causes the walls of the ventricle (usually the left ventricle) to thicken. This may block the blood flow out of the ventricle — if this occurs, it’s called obstructive HCM.

Non-obstructive HCM, according to the American Heart Association, “can affect the heart’s mitral valve, causing blood to leak backward through the valve. Sometimes, the thickened heart muscle doesn’t block blood flow out of the left ventricle. This is referred to as non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The entire ventricle may thicken, or the thickening may happen only at the bottom of the heart. The right ventricle also may be affected.”

HCM is very common and affects men and women equally. Often, people who have HCM experience no warning signs or symptoms. Others may experience shortness of breath ordisruptions to the heart’s electrical system which can lead to fast or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) and may result in SCA. Although usually not fatal, HCM it often goes undetected and is the most common cause of heart-related sudden death in people under 30.

Congenital Coronary Artery Abnormalities

Occasionally people are born with unusual or abnormal heart arteries. If this occurs, arteries may become compressed during exercise and not provide adequate blood flow to the heart.

Long QT Syndrome

Long QT syndrome, caused by abnormalities of proteins in the heart, is also an inherited heart rhythm disorder that may lead to fainting and can cause life-threatening arrhythmias. People with long QT syndrome are at an increased risk for suffering from cardiac arrest. Nearly half of the individuals with long QT never exhibit a symptom of the abnormality. Although there is no cure, medication may help (SADS Foundation).

Commotio Cordis

We discussed commotio cordis at length in March, but in a nutshell, this rare cause of sudden cardiac death can occur in anyone. Because it occurs as the result of a blunt blow to the chest, which can cause ventricular fibrillation, athletes are especially susceptible. The average age of athletes who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest is just 17 and more than two-thirds of young athletes who die suddenly are basketball and football players. Baseball, softball, hockey, and lacrosse players, however, are also especially susceptible to commotio cordis.

What are the Warning Signs of Heart Problems in Young People?

Unfortunately, sudden cardiac death often occurs with no warning or indication. However, if you or your child experience dizziness or unexplained fainting during physical activity, it could be an indication that the heart isn’t working properly.  Likewise, if you or your child experience shortness of breath or chest pain, speak to your doctor immediately!

Finally, if there’s a family history of sudden cardiac death or unexplained deaths before the age of 50, you may want to discuss cardiac screening options with your physician.

Cardio Partners offers CPR, first aid, and AED training courses in all 50 states in traditional classroom settings and in blended learning courses. To learn more about our courses or to equip your facilities with an AED, call our team at 866-349-4362, visit aed.com or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com. We’d love to hear from you!

California Enacts New AED Legislation

New Laws Mandate AEDs at Public Swimming Pools, Schools and More

Legislators across the country appear to have AEDs on their minds, and they continue to develop legislation to ensure that their constituents have access to life-saving technology in public places. In May, Tennessee enacted legislation requiring AEDs in schools and requiring teachers to have AED training. Late last month, California amended existing AED laws and joined Maryland, New Jersey, and Oregon in requiring AEDs at public swimming pools.

AEDs Required at California Swimming Pools

The law, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 6, 2018, is summarized in the official Legislative Counsel’s Digest as follows, “This bill would require those public swimming pools, as defined, that are required to provide lifeguard services and that charge a direct fee to additionally provide an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) during pool operations, as specified. Because the failure to comply with these provisions would be a crime, the bill would create a state-mandated local program. The bill would also require the State Department of Education, in consultation with the State Department of Public Health, to issue best practices guidelines related to pool safety at K–12 schools, as specified.”

Assembly Bill 2009 Requires AEDs at Interscholastic Athletic Programs

Joining 17 other states that have enacted some form of AED legislation pertaining to schools, California now requires school districts’ public and charter schools that offer interscholastic athletic programs to:

  • Put an emergency action plan in place addressing, among other things, sudden cardiac arrest emergencies.
  • Acquire at least one AED for each public or charter school in the district (effective July 1, 2019) to be available on campus.
  • Encourage that AEDs be made available for use within 3-5 minutes of sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Ensure AEDs are made available to athletic trainers and coaches and other authorized individuals at athletic programs, on-campus activities, and events.
  • Ensure AEDs are properly inspected and maintained.

Fatal Heart Attack on Metrolink Prompts Changes to AED Laws

In August 2017, a man collapsed and died on an LA-bound Metrolink train. According to the LA Times, passengers performed CPR and called 911, but without an AED on board, they were unable to provide additional assistance. By the time the train arrived at Union Station, more than 30 minutes after the passenger had collapsed, it was too late.

Senate Bill 502, enacted on September 20, now requires public entities operating certain commuter rail systems to have an AED on board each train on or before July  1, 2020. Training of employees on AED use is encouraged, but not required.

New Construction, Renovations, and Tenant-improved Buildings Now Need an AED

Existing California laws mandated the placement of AEDs in certain newly constructed buildings with an occupancy of more than 200. This new addendum now requires “…certain occupied structures that are not owned or operated by any local government entity and are constructed on or after January 1, 2017, to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) on the premises. This bill would apply the AED requirements to certain structures that are constructed prior to January 1, 2017, and subject to subsequent modifications, renovations, or tenant improvements, as specified.”

A Summary of California’s AED Statutes

  • Any person who, in good faith and not for compensation, renders emergency care or treatment by the use of an AED at the scene of an emergency is not liable for any civil damages resulting from any acts or omissions in rendering the emergency care.
  • AED registration is required.
  • AEDs should be maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • AED should be tested at least biannually and after each use.
  • When an AED is placed in a building, the building owner shall, at least once a year, notify the tenants as to the location of the AED units and provide information to tenants about who they can contact if they want to voluntarily take AED or CPR training.
  • Instructions for AED use should be posted in 14 point type next to the device.
  • AEDs are required in health studios and fitness centers.
  • AEDs are required in assembly buildings with an occupancy of greater than 300; business buildings with an occupancy of 200 or more; educational buildings with an occupancy of 200 or more; factory buildings with an occupancy of 200 or more; institutional buildings with an occupancy of 200 or more; mercantile buildings with an occupancy of 200 or more; residential buildings with an occupancy of 200 or more, excluding single-family and multifamily dwelling units.
  • If the governing board of a school district or the governing body of a charter school requires a course in health education for graduation from high school, then instruction in performing compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should be included in the course.
  • AEDs are required at public swimming pools.
  • Public and charter schools with interscholastic athletic programs must have AEDs.
  • Certain commuter trains must have AEDs (effective July 2020).

 

We’ll do our best to keep you up-to-date on the latest AED legislation. Subscribe to our blog for the latest AED news and updates. For more information about AED laws, call the team at Cardio Partners and AED.com at 866-349-4362 or email us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

Please note: The information included in this post and on our website is not intended as legal advice. As legislation changes often, this post may inadvertently contain inaccurate or incomplete information. We urge you to contact your state representative should you require more information about current AED laws in your state.

8 Pool Safety Tips and AED Best Practices for a Safe, Happy, and Healthy Summer!

Why is Pool Safety Important?

As visions of summer vacation dance in the minds of kids, parents, and teachers, it’s time to either start preparing your backyard pool for the flocks of neighborhood children or to renew that expired pool membership!

Before you take that first plunge into the deep end, however, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the importance of pool safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Drownings are a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 14, and three children die every day as a result of drowning. In fact, drowning kills more children 1 to 4 than anything else except birth defects.”

In a ten-year period from 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 drowning deaths in the United States each year. That’s more than 10 deaths per day!

Here at Cardio Partners and AED.com, we want to make sure that everyone stays safe this glorious summer!

Tip #1: Make Sure Your Poolside Guests Know How to Swim!

May is National Water Safety Month and we think it’s the perfect time to enroll your child in swim lessons. Here’s a statistic we can get behind: the CDC estimates that the risk of drowning is decreased by nearly 90% when young children take swimming lessons. Naturally, grown-ups and teens can benefit from refresher courses, First Aid classes, CPR certification, or lifeguarding classes. Check out your local Parks & Recreation schedule or try a nearby YMCA or Red Cross.

Tip #2: Invest in Personal Flotation Devices and Life Saving Equipment

If you have a pool, you need personal flotation devices and life-saving equipment. We recommend that all non-swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket or personal flotation device—even in the shallow end! We agree, those little donut-shaped swimmies and dinosaur floaties are super cute and noodles are tons of fun, but they’re not designed to prevent drowning.

Tip #3: Know the Signs of Drowning and Secondary Drowning

Contrary to every splashy Hollywood movie ever released, a person who is drowning probably won’t wave their hands in the air and cry desperately for help. They’ll be too busy trying to breathe to use that precious oxygen for shouting. More often than not, death by drowning is silent, so keep your eyes and your ears open.

Drowning Warning Signs

If your guest has gone silent and still in the water, check in and ask them to respond verbally. If the person is unable to respond, or their expression is blank, get them out of the water immediately!

Symptoms of Dry (or Secondary) Drowning

Dry drowning, or secondary drowning is also a very real danger. The American Osteopathic Association writes: “Dry and secondary drowning can occur after inhaling water through the nose or mouth. In cases of dry drowning, the water triggers a spasm in the airway, causing it to close up and impact breathing. Unlike dry drowning, delayed or secondary drowning occurs when swimmers have taken water into their lungs. The water builds up over time, eventually causing breathing difficulties.”

Tip # 4: Designate a “Lifeguard”

If you’re hosting a pool party, hiring a lifeguard may seem equal parts excessive and over-cautious, but it may be worth considering. First Aid and poolside CPR-certified lifeguards typically earn $10-15 an hour and are worth every penny in peace of mind. For smaller, family affairs, be sure to select a strong swimmer who is also CPR or First Aid certified as your designated watcher.

Tip #5: Invest in a First Aid Kit and an AED

There’s a reason why so many states have passed AED Legislation mandating the placement of AEDs in schools and sporting facilities. For a victim of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), an AED can be a lifesaver. AEDs are designed for use in a variety of adverse conditions.

If you need to use an AED on someone who has been swimming or has recently been pulled from the pool, remove any clothing and dry his or her chest as thoroughly as possible. Be sure there are no puddles around you, the patient, or the AED. Apply the pads and follow the device’s voice prompts. Every AED cautions responders and bystanders to stand clear of the patient.

Tip # 6: Pick a Swim Buddy!

Younger kids should have always have a swim buddy! Make sure your young swimmers can identify their swimming buddy and encourage clear communication. Even with the buddy system in place, never leave children unattended in the pool.

Tip # 7: Safety First!

You should check your local ordinances to make sure that your pool enclosure is in compliance with local regulations. Always securely lock your pool area when you’re not using it. And finally, make sure that you have access to a phone (preferably a water-resistant one) at all times in the case of an emergency.

Tip #8: Jump On In! (Feet-first, of Course!)

Diving headfirst into swimming pool can result in serious injury or death. Teach children how to jump into a pool feet-first and away from the pool’s concrete edge. Cannonballs are encouraged!

Get yourself pool-ready and water-safe. Enroll in a First Aid and AED Certification course today. Call our team at 866-349-4362 or visit AED.com or CardioPartners.com for more information.

What You Need to Know About Young Athletes, Commotio Cordis, & Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Raising Awareness about SCA and Commotio Cordis in Youth

Many of us assume that the more than 350,000 Americans who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year are elderly or suffer from heart disease or other health conditions. While this is certainly true for many, it’s not true for all. In fact, SCA caused by commotio cordis is far more common on the high school playing field than in the halls of your local senior center.

What is Commotio Cordis?

The American Heart Association defines commotio cordis as “a phenomenon in which a sudden blunt impact to the chest causes sudden death in the absence of cardiac damage.” Although the condition was first described in laborers the mid-1700s, in the last couple of decades, commotio cordis events have occurred primarily in sports.

Today, this type of trauma is most often caused by the impact of a ball, hit, or puck to the chest. When an athlete takes a blow to the area directly over the heart at a critical time during the cycle of a heartbeat, it may cause cardiac arrest.

According to the HeartRescue Project, the risk of SCA is three times greater in competitive athletes. The average age of athletes who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest is just 17 and more than two-thirds of young athletes who die suddenly are basketball and football players. Baseball, softball, hockey, and lacrosse players, however, are especially susceptible to commotio cordis.

Even a seemingly insignificant or minor blow to the chest can cause commotio cordis, so it’s critical that members of the coaching staff, athletes, and parents are all well-informed.

Facts about Commotio Cordis

  • More than 224 cases have been reported to the US Commotio Cordis Registry since 1995. It’s estimated, however, that many more cases have not been reported.
  • Based on the Registry cases of commotio cordis the survival rate was 24%.
  • 95% of cases affected males.
  • Commotio cordis most frequently occurs in those aged between 10 and 18 years.
  • 50% of episodes occur during competitive sports, a further 25% occur during recreational sports, and the other 25% occurs during other activities that involve blunt force trauma to the chest wall.

(Source: Life in the Fast Lane)

Preventing Commotio Cordis and SCA Among Athletes

Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely prevent commotio cordis or SCA from occurring. However, by shining a light on the issue, coaches and athletes can reduce the incidence of life-threatening chest trauma and can maximize survival rates by adhering to the following recommendations.

Coach Responsibly

Young athletes should be educated about commotio cordis and should protect themselves and their teammates from taking direct blows to the chest during practice and game time. Coaching staff members should teach techniques that emphasize player safety and encourage players to turn away from the ball to avoid errant pitches, for example.

Consider Using Reduced Impact Balls

These “safety balls” are especially good options for our youngest athletes, who are in the skill-building stages of their development and training. Not only do these balls minimize injuries, but they reduce fear and improve confidence among young players.

Be Alert

If you see an athlete collapse on the field, be proactive! The American Heart Association notes that “resuscitation, once thought to be nearly universally unsuccessful, has now been demonstrated to be successful in up to 35% of commotio cordis victims.”

Learn CPR

Here at Cardio Partners, we believe in the power of CPR. As a team-building exercise, we recommending signing the whole team up for CPR training. Check out our post, 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn CPR, for more information.

Invest in an AED for Your School Gym and Your Fieldhouse

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of AEDs in the Workplace, but parents of athletes and survivors of commotio cordis would argue that the gymnasium and field house is just as important as a public hallway for automatic external defibrillator placement. In most instances, EMTs cannot reasonably be expected to arrive at the scene of a cardiac arrest in less than five minutes. Well-placed public-access AEDs may save the lives of countless young athletes.


AED.com and Cardio Partners offers CPR, first aid, AED, and bloodborne pathogen training courses in all 50 states in traditional classroom settings and in blended learning courses. To learn more about our courses or to equip your school’s athletic facilities with an AED, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com. We’d love to hear from you!

October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, a time to recognize the severity of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and what can be done to help save others during such a tragic experience. Every year, more than 350,000 people die in the U.S. of out-of-hospital SCA. According to the Sudden Cardiac Awareness Foundation, this number is almost equal to the amount of lives claimed by Alzheimer’s disease, assault with firearms, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, HIV, house fires, motor vehicle accidents, prostate cancer and suicide combined.

Despite such a high number, SCA can be treated successfully if caught in time for CPR and defibrillation with an automatic external defibrillator (AED). If a rescuer can perform these lifesaving tasks, survival rates increase from an average of 10 percent to 50 percent.

Every business, school and home should have an AED present and accessible. As part of SCA Awareness Month, we are encouraging the implementation of AEDs by partnering with our manufacturer ZOLL Medical and giving away two free AEDs!

The ZOLL AED Plus is designed for any rescuer and is also one of the only AEDs to provide Real CPR feedback . The Real CPR Help feature, audio and on-screen prompts will help walk rescuers through performing chest compressions. It also measures the depth and rate to ensure safety.

Throughout October, go to www.aed.com and sign up to win a free ZOLL AED Plus! Winners will be announced on 10/16/17 and 10/31/17 on the AED.com Facebook and Linkedin pages.

Public Access Rescue Ready AEDs

It’s happened! Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) just struck in the person next to you, and they are in dire need of an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Luckily, you know where the AED is located, and it also has the ability to walk you through CPR. But as you grab this lifesaving device, the unthinkable happens — or rather, it doesn’t. The AED isn’t rescue ready. The device hasn’t been checked for preventative maintenance in years.

According to a study by UofL researchers, 21 percent of 322 AEDs at 190 public, non-hospital settings failed at least one phase of testing. Of that number, five percent had expired batteries, which would not allow them to work in a time of need.

Unfortunately, there are no required standards for the maintenance of AEDs or its registration. This makes the upkeep entirely voluntary for the AED carrier. Initially, the AED is registered with the vendor in order for the purchaser to receive updates on any recalls and advisories.

Cardio Partners offers preventative maintenance services to ensure your device is rescue ready. This helps to cut on costs of any unnecessary repairs or startling discoveries should it not work in a time of need. Preventative maintenance can help to guarantee a long lifetime for your piece of equipment; so that you can rest assured that is going to be ready in a time of need.