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Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association Launches Austin and Lubbock Chapters
Date:1/8/2008

Austin and Lubbock Groups Will Work to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Through Public Education and Advocacy

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA) announced today that it has launched Austin and Lubbock chapters as it builds a network of local organizations to help carry out its mission of preventing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

The Austin SCAA chapter is led by Connie Snell of Austin who is an SCA survivor and has been active in the Austin community, including participating annually at the city of Austin's "Keep the Beat Alive" event which recognizes citizens and emergency workers who have been involved in saving victims of sudden cardiac arrest. Connie was also a strong public advocate for the state legislation that was enacted to require automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in Texas schools. The chapter is already scheduled to participate in several activities at the upcoming national conference on preventive medicine that will be held in Austin in February.

The Lubbock SCAA chapter is led by Jeriami St. Clair of Lubbock, who is a paramedic and certified CPR trainer. St. Clair has been involved in the initiative to place more than 200 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in Lubbock area schools, churches and businesses and has been involved in CPR training and SCA awareness programs since 1998.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading killer in the U.S., striking more than 350,000 annually, with a survival rate of only about five percent. The death rate for SCA exceeds the combined death rate of breast cancer, lung cancer, stroke and HIV/AIDS. SCA is triggered by an electrical problem with the heart that causes the heart to stop beating, and is often confused with a heart attack. SCA victims can often be revived with CPR and quick access to defibrillation to shock the heart back into rhythm. While there are more AEDs in public facilities and more patients implanted with Internal Cardiac Defibrillators (ICDs), broader AED deployment and better patient understanding of the condition is critical to improving the odds of survival.

SCAA today announced its first 13 chapters and affiliates and expects to have at least 25 in place by this spring. SCAA chapters and affiliates bring together sudden cardiac arrest survivors, patients, medical and emergency professionals and community leaders to carry out public education and advocacy programs and activities. Programs and projects will include broader deployment of AEDs and CPR training, better public/patient awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, and improved screening and access to medical care for individuals who may be at risk.

"We have identified a committed group of volunteers and local community leaders like Connie Snell and Jeriami St. Clair who have enthusiastically responded to our plans for a national network of local chapters and affiliates," said Chris Chiames, SCAA's executive director. "People from all walks of life and all kinds of interests have been touched by sudden cardiac arrest and we are heartened by their response to help. They know that our organization can make a difference in saving lives through better public response and better public education. While we work to expand our national presence and influence, we are going to rely on our local chapters and affiliates to make the real impact in their communities through education and advocacy."

Along with the Austin and Lubbock chapters the first set of local chapters and affiliates include:

-- Cape Cod, Massachusetts

-- Iowa

-- Kansas City (Kansas and Missouri)

-- Long Island, New York

-- Minnesota (Minneapolis-St. Paul and Rochester)

-- Northwestern Minnesota

-- Queens, New York

-- Southeastern Massachusetts

-- South Florida

-- Southwest Connecticut

-- Western Maine

SCAA is based in Washington, DC and is singularly focused on the issue of sudden cardiac arrest. It co-chairs the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Coalition with the Heart Rhythm Society, a professional association for electrophysiology and heart rhythm physician specialists. SCAA provides its local chapters with a broad program of projects and activities that can be tailored to the interests and needs of the local community. For more information on SCAA and the Austin and Lubbock chapters, please visit http://www.suddencardiacarrest.org.


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SOURCE Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association
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