Category Archives: Cardiac Arrest

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!

5 Tips for AED Program Management in the Workplace

Are your employees ready to respond to a cardiac emergency in the workplace?

The American Heart Association reported that in 2016, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurred. OSHA estimates that 10,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur each year in the workplace. The importance of having an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) in your workplace is clear, and in fact, many work environments already have AEDs and first aid kits. But are you and your employees truly prepared to respond to a medical emergency in the workplace?

Unfortunately, recent data indicates that most employees are not prepared to handle cardiac emergencies. In a survey about cardiac emergency preparedness conducted last summer, the American Heart Association discovered that most workers do not have access to CPR and first aid training and that fully half of them were unable to locate an onsite AED. In the hospitality industry, where employees are welcoming guests who are unfamiliar with a property, 66% of those surveyed cannot locate an AED.

In response to the findings, Michael Kurz, M.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, said, “the data suggests these untrained employees may be relying on their untrained peers in the event of an emergency, leaving employees with a false sense of security.”

At Cardio Partners, it’s our goal to help ensure that organizations and individuals are well-prepared and ready to act in the event of a cardiac or medical emergency in the workplace.

5 Best Practices for AED Program Management in the Workplace.

Enlist an AED and First Aid Advocate

Whether you work for a Fortune 500 corporation with thousands of employees and hundreds of AEDs or you’re an entrepreneur with a single AED and one or two employees, it’s important to make sure that your team is as committed to safety and emergency readiness as you are.

First, identify employees who are well-respected by their peers and who you think would be interested in helping you promote workplace safety and cardiac awareness. Be sure to share information about your AED program with them, including information about what AEDs are and how they work.

These in-house champions will help promote your emergency readiness plans and can educate their peers about the importance of AEDs and first aid training. They’ll also replace the false sense of security some untrained employees may feel with a clear resource for information and instruction about emergency first aid.

Keep Your AEDs in Plain Sight

Timing is critical when it comes to administering CPR or defibrillation. For every minute that passes without CPR or defibrillation, the chances of survival decrease 7-10% (American Heart Association).

For optimal AED placement, OSHA recommends that AEDs be conveniently installed to ensure response within 3 to 5 minutes, near a confined space, in:

  • Areas where many people work closely together, such as assembly lines and office buildings.
  • Areas where electric-powered devices are used.
  • Outdoor worksites where lightning may occur.
  • Health units where workers may seek treatment for heart attack symptoms.
  • Company fitness units and cafeterias.
  • Remote sites, such as offshore drilling rigs, construction projects, marine vessels, power transmission lines, and energy pipelines.

Invest in an AED Compliance Management System

Make sure that your AEDs are in compliance and are emergency-ready with a user-friendly AED Compliance Management System. Online systems such as Cardio Partners’ Premium AED Compliance Management System ensure that your equipment is properly registered, checked, logged, and that your physician’s prescription is up-to-date. These systems can also help you track the expiration dates of your defibrillators’ batteries and pads.

Spring for Training

Now that you have an AED cheerleader, you’ve placed your devices strategically, and you’ve committed to an AED Compliance Management System, you’ll want to make sure that your employees know how to use your emergency medical equipment. You’ll also want to make sure they know how to recognize a sudden cardiac arrest and how they should go about activating your emergency response plan.

It’s worth noting that more than 90% of the employees who participated in the two American Heart Association surveys said they would take employer-sponsored CPR and first aid training courses. Improve safety by boosting your employees’ confidence. Enroll your team in CPR, First Aid, and AED courses today!

Practice Makes Perfect

Be sure to include AEDs in your emergency response drills. Emergency readiness drills can help ensure that your employees know where your AEDs are located and how to use them.

For more information about AED best practices in the workplace or to schedule a cardiac preparedness consultation, contact www.aed.com at 866-349-4362 or email us at customerservice@aed.com.

10 Reasons Why You Should Learn CPR

The Importance of CPR Training and Certification

If you’re still cooking up your resolutions for the new year, we have a humble suggestion for you: add CPR training to your list. CPR helps keep blood and oxygen flowing and dramatically increases the chances of survival in those who suffer a cardiac arrest.

Here are 10 great reasons why you should learn CPR this year:

Heart Disease is the Leading Cause of Death in the United States

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., claiming the lives of more than 600,000 people each year.

CPR Saves Lives

While heart disease is on the rise, CPR can help save lives. According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurred in 2016. Sadly, 88% of people who suffer from a cardiac arrest outside of the hospital die. However, when properly and promptly performed, CPR can dramatically improve person’s chance of survival.  

Anyone Can Learn CPR

Anyone can learn CPR and everyone should. The American Heart Association reports that 70% of Americans feel helpless to act in the event of a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to effectively administer CPR or their training has lapsed.

The Life You Save May Be That of a Loved One

Did you know that four out of five cardiac arrests occur at home? Not only that, but many victims of sudden cardiac arrest appear healthy and may not have any known heart diseases or risk factors. Performing CPR promptly may save the life of someone you love.

Prevent Brain Death

Brain death occurs four to six minutes after the heart stops breathing. CPR effectively keeps blood flowing and provides oxygen to the brain and other vital organs, giving the victim a better chance for full recovery. Everyday Health reports that If CPR is given within the first two minutes of cardiac arrest, the chances of survival double.

CPR Makes You Smarter

Let’s face it, by the time you complete CPR training, you’ll know something that you didn’t know before you started!

You’ll Feel Confident in the Event of A Cardiac Emergency

CPR classes will equip you with the tools and the confidence you need to transform yourself from the role of bystander to lifesaver. CPR certification will give you the necessary training to make the right decisions in the event of a cardiac emergency.

CPR Classes are Fun

By nature, CPR classes are hands-on and interactive. While there may be some online training involved, course participants will learn how to properly execute chest compressions in a fun and supportive environment.

You’ll Test Your Musical Knowledge

The tempo at which you should give chest compressions lines up nicely with popular musical gems such as the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles, and “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” by country duo Big and Rich.

Join the 3 Percent

An online resource for emergency medical services personnel, EMS1, notes that “Although evidence indicates that bystander CPR and AED use can significantly improve survival and outcomes from cardiac arrest, each year less than 3% of the U.S. population receives CPR training, leaving many bystanders unprepared to respond to cardiac arrest.” Become a part of the solution and sign up for a CPR training course today.


Cardio Partners is a trusted nationwide CPR training center
. We offer 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 schedule a training, 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.

Commotio Cordis: Secret Killer in Young Athletes

Safety always comes before the game, especially when young people are involved. With sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) being the number one cause of death among student athletes, parents and coaches must be prepared for such an unimaginable event. Often times, SCA occurs in student athletes for one of these three reasons: A blow to the chest (Commotio Cordis); structural heart defects (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Marfan syndrome, etc.); or electrical heart defects (long QT syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson White Syndromes, etc.).

Commotio Cordis is Latin for “agitation of the heart,” which occurs when there is a blow to the chest between heartbeats. This can trigger a SCA. According to a report by the UT Southwestern Medical Center, many of these incidents take place when youths are playing baseball, where the ball has the ability to travel at very high speeds. For example, when a student athlete is struck in the chest with a baseball, the heart will go into ventricular fibrillation. This means the heart will begin an uncoordinated quivering, and unless an external automatic defibrillator (AED) is present to shock the heart back into its appropriate rhythm, it will eventually stop.

Though Commotio Cordis is considered a rare event, is still the second most common cause of sudden death among athletes. It is most common in teenage boys, usually dropping off around the age of 20. The age factor —according to the UT report — could be related to the strengthening of the chest wall and a decline in playing sports after high school. Regardless, coaches and parents should learn to recognize the signs of Commotio Cordis in order to ensure the right precautions are taken for the safety of these athletes.

Be AED and CPR ready should you notice any of the below risk factors in a young athlete, especially if it follows trauma to the chest:

  • Fainting or seizures during or after exercising
  • Any indication of chest pains
  • Unexplained shortness of breath or long time to catch breath

http://www.aed.com/aed-packages-page/athletic-aed-packages.html

 

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.

Why We Need AEDs in Schools

 

With school back in full swing again, teachers, coaches and other faculty members must strive to create a safe environment for every child that walks through their doors. Having that responsibility is big, but creating a little piece of mind by implementing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools is even bigger. When we lose nearly 7,000 young people to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year, it’s hard not to concern ourselves with the best way to respond should it strike during school hours. Not every school can afford to have emergency personnel on the premises, so having a life-saving source is key — especially when the AED is designed to walk any rescuer through defibrillation and CPR using voice prompts.

 

Despite the fact SCA can strike at any time in people of all ages and fitness levels, only 17 out of 50 states in the U.S. are required to install AEDs in schools, says an analysis published in the Journal of the American College Cardiology. This seems like an impossible number of states without the requirement for AEDs in schools, especially considering that defibrillation within three minutes of SCA can increase a person’s survival to 70 percent.

 

Often times, SCA occurs in young persons between the ages 10-19 years old; however, it can still strike in children of all ages without warning. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, two-thirds of SCA-related deaths in children happen during exercise or activity. With this in mind, preparation for such a tragic event can start with simple CPR, AED and first training.

 

Knowing that AEDs are crucial to increasing someone’s survival rate, there’s no question as to why they’re needed in schools. So, before investing in an AED at your facility, you first want to be sure it’s affordable, reliable and, most importantly, easy to use. Fortunately, models like the Zoll AED Plus and the HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P can offer a solution. Both of these affordable, lifesaving devices use voice prompts, which helps guide any rescuer through the resuscitation process. This allows the user to feel confident in their rescuing abilities during a very high stress situation.