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Minnesota State High School League and Take Heart Minnesota Team Up to Save More Lives From Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

MINNEAPOLIS, March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Minnesota State High School League and Take Heart™ Minnesota together with the Medtronic Foundation announced they are "teaming up" to save more lives from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Their statewide effort "tips off" tonight with CPR training for more than 50 students on the court during halftime, performed to the song "Stayin' Alive" played by the Lakeville South High School band.

SCA is a leading cause of death in young athletes. Just one in 10 U.S. student-athletes who suffers from SCA survives. It is a condition in which the heart abruptly stops without warning.  More than 4,500 cases of SCA were reported in Minnesota in 2008, an average of 12.5 incidences per day

Unless victims are provided with adequate aid in a timely fashion – ideally CPR and a shock from an automated external defibrillator (AED) in the first three to five minutes – SCA is 100 percent fatal. However, the average response time for paramedics is eight to 10 minutes.  

The statewide initiative will combine the Minnesota State High School League's "Anyone Can Save a Life" school based SCA response training with Take Heart™ Minnesota's community-based CPR training efforts, which in St. Cloud and Anoka Counties already has increased SCA survival rates from 8.4 percent to 19 percent in just two years.

"We know we can improve survival rates when all the systems are working together," says Dr. Keith Lurie, co-founder of Take Heart Minnesota™ and an electrophysiologist at St. Cloud Hospital. "Joining the Minnesota High School League's school-based efforts with our training of the general public, first responders and hospital staff we believe we can save at least one more Minnesotan each day."

"Minnesota high schools are often the hub of our communities, and we think this program offers a great opportunity to drive real change in how we address sudden cardiac arrest," said David Etzwiler, executive director of the Medtronic Foundation.  "We'll be training a new generation about risk factors, how to prevent cardiac arrest, and how to save lives, which ultimately will not only make our schools, but our communities, safer."

About Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Often mistakenly referred to as a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart abruptly stops without warning. Most sudden cardiac arrest episodes are caused by the rapid and/or chaotic activity of the heart known as ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF). These are abnormalities of the heart's electrical conduction system.

SCA is the leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 250,000 Americans die each year from this condition.

Cardiac arrest is reversible in most victims if it's treated within minutes, but the only effective treatment is the delivery of an electrical shock, either with an automated external defibrillator (AED), or with a stop watch-sized implantable defibrillator.

About the Minnesota State High School League

The Minnesota State High School League is a voluntary, nonprofit association of public and private schools with a history of service to Minnesota's high school youth since 1916. The Minnesota State High School League provides educational opportunities for students through interscholastic athletics and fine arts programs, and provides leadership and support for member schools.

Learn more at

About Take Heart America™

Take Heart America™ was founded by a network of visionaries who recognized that a coordinated, comprehensive approach to resuscitation therapies would substantially increase sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) survival rates beyond the benefits achieved with individual therapies alone. The initial results from St. Cloud, Minn. and Anoka County, Minn. have been remarkably successful.

Building community awareness is paramount to the Take Heart America™ strategy for saving lives. Teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and encouraging those who have been trained to act when necessary can significantly increase an SCA victim's chance of survival. The strategy to deploy automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in residential communities and public places along with improving the resuscitation techniques of professional rescuers will also increase the chances for the victim to survive and resume a productive life. Take Heart America™ strategies involve working with hospitals to develop clear procedures for ensuring optimal hospital treatment and post-resuscitation care for each SCA survivor.

Learn more at

About Medtronic and the Medtronic Foundation

Medtronic, Inc. (, headquartered in Minneapolis, is the global leader in medical technology – alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people around the world. The Medtronic Foundation is committed to improving the health of people and communities.

SOURCE Medtronic, Inc.

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SOURCE Medtronic, Inc.
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