Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Cardiac Arrest Guidelines for Athletes

WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) The Inter-Association Task Force has established recommendations for U.S. high school and college athletic programs to treat sudden cardiac arrest.

The guidelines in the April edition of Heart Rhythm address prompt recognition of sudden cardiac arrest and early activation of the emergency medical service system.

The presence of a trained rescuer to initiate CPR and access to an automated external defibrillator for early defibrillation are essential to ensure that athletes receive immediate treatment.

When an athlete collapses and is unresponsive, it's recommended to apply an automated external defibrillator to the athlete for rhythm analysis as soon as possible, ideally in under three to five minutes, according to lead author Dr. Jonathan Drezner of the Hall Health Sports Medicine Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Sudden cardiac arrest can be mistaken for other medical problems, but responders should assume it's sudden cardiac arrest until proven otherwise, says Drezner.

Everyone associated with an athletic program should be familiar with sudden cardiac arrest to increase the athlete's chance of survival, Drezner says.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International
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