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Statement of Robert O'Connor, M.D., M.P.H. Chair, American Heart Association, Emergency Cardiovascular Committee, on U.S. House of Representatives Passage of the Josh Miller HEARTS Act
Date:6/10/2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States. To combat this life threatening condition, it is imperative that every school develop an emergency medical response plans and acquire the tools they need to respond effectively to children and adults who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest. Learning how to perform CPR and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) are essential life-saving skills. Passage of this legislation will enable schools to purchase AEDs that they could not otherwise afford, and make certain that they have a medical emergency response plan in place to respond effectively

Training in CPR and the use of AEDs can prevent needless deaths and provide assurance to employees and families that schools are prepared to respond to these medical emergencies. The true benefit of having this life-saving device on school grounds would be realized if every student received CPR and AED training. These skills could also be used at school and in the community.

As AEDs become more prevalent in our communities, it is important that Americans know how to recognize and use them. A recent American Heart Association survey found that while 89 percent of Americans say they are willing to help if they witness a medical emergency, less than 25 percent are confident they could perform CPR or use an AED. There should be no confusion or hesitation in using a device that can check a cardiac arrest victim's heart rhythm and advise whether a shock is needed. While the American Heart Association strongly recommends that all Americans become certified in CPR and AED use, a person with no training can still administer hands-only CPR and perform defibrillation by following an AED's simple voice prompts.

We applaud Representative Betty Sutton for her leadership in introducing legislation to make AEDs available in our schools and the House leadership for making it a priority. We encourage the Senate to follow the House's lead and pass this legislation as soon as possible.


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SOURCE American Heart Association
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