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New Research: Americans Underestimate Dangers of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Date:10/1/2008

diagnosis, treatment and therapies. Key findings include:

Heart Attack vs. SCA: Contrary to the belief held by more than 70 percent of survey respondents, SCA is not a type of heart attack. A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, is when a blockage in a blood vessel interrupts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart, causing the heart muscle to die. SCA occurs when the heart stops working and no blood can be pumped to the rest of the body.

Waiting for Warning Signs: Nearly 40 percent of respondents didn't realize that most people who die from SCA have no outward indications of heart disease. In fact, SCA can happen to people of all ages and health conditions. Even when there are warning signs, most people don't recognize them.

Optimal SCA Treatment: While sudden cardiac arrest victims need CPR or a life-saving shock from an automatic external defibrillator (AED) within 4 to 6 minutes to have a chance of surviving, only one in three respondents correctly estimated this critical treatment time. Also nearly 60 percent of respondents did not know that implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are the most effective treatment to protect those at risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

Using Automatic External Defibrillators: Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) are portable electronic devices that deliver a brief, high-energy shock to the victim's chest through paddles or electrode patches. AEDs will only deliver a shock when an irregular heart rhythm is detected and these devices are sometimes available at public locations such as airports, gyms and office buildings. Despite their ease of use, 75 percent of respondents expressed concern about using an AED, which clearly demonstrates the need for further education and training opportunities. Common concerns included:
-- Not knowing how to use an AED - 55 percent

-- Hurting the victim - 38 percent

-- Shocking a victim when they do not need a shock - 35 per
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SOURCE Heart Rhythm Society
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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