More than 500,000 deaths result from SCA in the United States each year. SCA is fatal if immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) followed by defibrillation is not administered. Survival rates decrease between 7 and 10 percent for each minute the patient does not receive defibrillation. In instances when CPR is started immediately, however, that survival rate decrease drops to 3 to 4 percent per minute. Because of this fact, it is crucial that emergency action plans are in place and well practiced to ensure the quickest and most effective response to SCA, researchers say.
For the October 2007 study, researchers analyzed survey responses submitted by athletic directors from 138 North Carolina high schools, representing 37 percent of the 376 schools contacted to participate.
Survey questions were designed to assess vital and easily calculated aspects of emergency planning using the 2007 National Athletic Trainers Association guidelines as a standard. According to the guidelines, elements of emergency planning for SCA include ensuring an efficient system for communication both within a school and between the school and local EMS system, providing access to an AED and other necessary equipment to be used by trained responders, and perfecting and practicing a written action plan.
While most of the responding schools 72.5 percent reported having an AED, fewer than 56 percent reported having an emergency action plan to follow in the event that they would need to use the device. The survey also revealed that division 1 schools were least likely to report owning an AED and, together with division 2 schools, were less likely to report having action plans than larger division 3 and division 4 schools.
Researchers noted in their report that "the majority of responding schools did not know if EMS could arrive and defibrillate within
|Contact: Jessica Guenzel|
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center