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Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association Launches Two Minnesota Affiliates

Minnesota 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 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Rochester and Northwestern Minnesota affiliates as it builds a network of local organizations to help carry out its mission of preventing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

The Minnesota SCAA affiliate is led by Gene Johnson of New Brighton, Minnesota, who is a survivor of sudden cardiac arrest and is chairman of the Midwest Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivors Network (MSCASN). The organization has been working in the Twin Cities and Rochester area to broaden deployment of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), provide support for SCA survivors, conduct CPR training, and educate the public about sudden cardiac arrest.

The Western Minnesota SCAA chapter is led by Randy Fischer of Fergus Falls, Minnesota who is a paramedic and ambulance service director. Fischer and other volunteers have already placed more than 80 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and have been involved in CPR training and SCA awareness programs for 28 years in Northwestern Minnesota.

Sudden cardiac arrest 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 Randy Fischer in Fergus Falls and Gene Johnson and his colleagues in the Midwest Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivors Network 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 Twin Cities-Rochester and Northwestern Minnesota organizations the first set of local SCAA chapters and affiliates include:
-- Austin, Texas

-- Cape Cod, Massachusetts

-- Iowa

-- Kansas City (Kansas and Missouri)

-- Long Island, New York

-- Lubbock, Texas

-- 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 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 Western Minnesota chapter, please visit The local group can be contacted in Fergus Falls at (218) 731-8216 or via email at The Twin Cities-Rochester affiliate's website address is, and the group can be contacted at (763) 370-5750 or email at

SOURCE Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association
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