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Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association Launches Southwest Connecticut Chapter
Date:1/8/2008

Naugatuck-based Group 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 a Southwest Connecticut chapter as part of the first group of chapter and affiliate organizations, as it builds a network of local organizations to help carry out its mission of preventing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

The Southwest Connecticut chapter is based in Naugatuck and will be led by Sherri Hopkins and Lisa Herchenroether, who originally started the Naugatuck HeartSafe Organization. Their "Give a Beat" campaign has thus far raised over $6,000 to purchase automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) for area schools. Sherri, a registered nurse, and Lisa a survivor of SCA, have committed themselves to getting AEDs in all local area schools. Future outreach targets include senior centers and municipal/public centers.

"We are excited about our new affiliation with the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association," said Sherri Hopkins. "As part of a national organization, we will have broader visibility and be able to make a bigger impact in our community and to ultimately save more lives. We want to expand the presence of AEDs in our communities and also make people more aware of the risks of sudden cardiac arrest so that they can be better informed about their health care."

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 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 Sherri Hopkins and Lisa Herchenroether 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 Southwest Connecticut Chapter, the first set of local chapters and affiliates include:

-- Austin, Texas

-- Cape Cod, Massachusetts

-- Iowa

-- Kansas City (Kansas and Missouri)

-- Long Island, New York

-- Lubbock, Texas

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

-- Northwestern Minnesota

-- Queens, New York

-- Southeastern Massachusetts

-- South Florida

-- 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 and affiliates 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 Southwest Connecticut chapter, please visit http://www.suddencardiacarrest.org.


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SOURCE Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association
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