Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Luckily he was playing in a local, elementary school because New York State mandates AEDs in schools.

Tough to find an AED in a hotel

Posted at: 11/10/2011 3:40 PM
Updated at: 11/10/2011 6:38 PM
By: Benita Zahn
At 72 Bill Johnson is probably busier than people 20 years his junior. Along with the house hold chores he works part time, hits the golf ball and indulges in his passion - playing basketball.
But in March 2011 a trip down the hardwood almost ended his life. As he explains, "the second time down the court, black. Just completely black. No warning, no illness no dizziness. Black."
Bill's heart stopped beating. Luckily he was playing in a local, elementary school because New York State mandates schools have AED-s - Automated external defibrillators.

"Without it I wouldn't be talking to you" he says. The shock administered by the AED along with CPR kept him alive long enough for the EMT'S to take over. But if he'd suffered that attack while at a hotel, odds are, he'd have been out of luck.

"You know going into a hotel there's CPR training, there's fire extinguishers, there's 9-1-1" Jan Marie Chesterton, President of the NYS Hospitality and Tourism association explains. But not necessarily an AED.
New York law mandates an AED  be available in public places that can host groups of 1,000 or more. So unless a hotel has a grand ballroom, they probably won't have an AED.
Chesterton says there are a host of reasons including cost and the challenge to have enough staffers trained as turnover is high in the hotel industry, something local hotelier Michael Hoffman knows first hand.

"They make us do so many things that sometimes make sense or don't make sense you can't always do the things you'd like to do and it does come down to money for a lot of hoteliers," said Hoffman.
Even though the price has come down in recent years, AEDS can still cost a $1,000 or more. There's also worry about liability, the no good deed goes unpunished philosophy.
"We talked about it a year ago. We got scared off. I didn't know the good Samaritan law was passed," said Hoffman.
That's right. New York took the liability worry out of the equation earlier this year by expanding the state's Good Samaritan Law:  basically, absolving anyone who, in good faith teaches the use of or uses an AED to save a life.
The American Heart Association encourages use of AED's and Julianne Hart of the AHA says, "but I think since AED's have become much easier to use, good Samaritan laws have been strengthened to cover the liability concerns that really some of those barriers have been eliminated."

Now the challenge facing the American Heart Association is to get the word out and reinforce the message that AED's are not only easy to use, they're basically fool proof as the machine prompts you along.

Bottom line, the device won't deliver a shock unless it's needed. All information those in the hotel industry need to hear.
"I sit here and look you square in the face," said Hoffman. "And I don't know why we don't have 'em."

No one's suggesting another law. As Hoffman and Chesteron point out bed and breakfasts handle a much smaller clientele than hotel's like Hoffman's Homeward Suites on Wolf Road -- but they acknowledge everyone needs greater awareness of the life saving potential of these self contained units.
And as for Bill Johnson, thanks to an AED he may get an early Christmas wish. "I want to play hoops again," said Johnson.
The American Heart Association says 295,000 Americans suffer sudden cardiac arrest every year outside of a hospital.
Quick use of an AED along with C.P.R. greatly increase survival odds.
For more information on how to learn these skills click the American Heart Association.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Athlete of the Week: Because Minutes Count in Emergencies

A teen who solicits corporate contributions for defibrillators got one in the hands of Northborough's youth hockey coaches.
By Charlene Arsenault and Mary MacDonald

At 14, Sean Burns is too young to be a professional salesman. But he has the elevator pitch down when it comes to defibrillators, and why they're critically important.

Now, the coaches at Algonquin have one in their hands, too.

In fewer than 10 seconds, he can make a case for why hockey coaches should have Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) at every practice, as well as the games. The machines can restart a heart that has stopped, when seconds count.

"My goal is to make sure every coach has one," Burns said. "It doesn't have to happen in a game. It can happen in a scrimmage."

Burns, a student at Middle School East this year, played hockey for its team. He was motivated to start collecting funds for defibrillators by the experience of Tyler Symes, a student who, while playing hockey for Mil ford High School, was struck in the chest by a puck and went into cardiac arrest. Because the high school trainer had an AED, she and other responders were able to get his heart started again.

"Not all hockey programs are fortunate enough to have defibrillators and my goal is to change that," Burns wrote, in a letter he crafted to solicit donations. With his solicitation letter, he contacted area athletic directors, such as Fran Whitten at Algonquin Regional High School, and "received an overwhelming response."

"I created a fundraising letter and sent it to everyone that I ever skated with, for, or against," said Burns.

Burns received a reply from Ken Calabro, the president of the Starhawks Youth Hockey Association, who was willing to make a donation from his program because the The Starhawks is the youth hockey program that feeds Algonquin Regional High School. He then contacted Whitten to let him know he was able to line up a donation for Algonquin, and ordered the AED. 

"It is amazing how conscientious kids (and people) can be in their quest to help others," said Scott Ellison, coach of the Northborough team. "Sean Burns is a bright light in this world. We are lucky to have this gift of the AED."

So far, he has been able to set up nine donations to the Milford Middle School, Algonquin Regional, Marlboro HS, Milford Youth Football, Hopkinton HS, Medway HS, and Millbury HS. His next donation will go to Northborough High School when he finds a sponsor.

Burns has an agreement with Zoll Medical, of Chelmsford, for the Zoll AED Plus, which has an automated voice that helps the responder administer treatment. The price for Burn's program -- Hearts4Hockey -- is $1,232.50, a discount compared to the normal unit price.

The company spokeswoman, contacted this week, said other manufacturers produce AEDs, but Zoll is the only one that has a recorded voice t hat helps guide people through the process, including chest compressions for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

"When someone goes into sudden cardiac arrest, every second counts," said Diane Egan, spokeswoman for Zoll Medical.

State law does not require AEDs in schools. And the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, which governs high school sports, only requires qualified medical personnel at hockey and football games. The reasons why AEDs are not more universally required are because of the expense and training requirements for coaches, said Paul Wetzel, a spokesman for the MIAA.

"Anytime we talk about it, somone brings up these issues," he said.

Burns, who has played hockey for nine years, wants hockey coaches to have the devices for "peace of mind." Having them in the building isn't enough, he said.

Minutes count, he said.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Most Americans With HCM Live Normal Life Spans

Statement Highlights: , Nov 8, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a treatable disease compatible with normal longevity. -- HCM is the most common inherited cardiac disease, occurring in one per 500 people worldwide. -- HCM patients should not participate in intense competition sports.

DALLAS, Nov. 8, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Most of the 600,000 Americans with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) -- a genetic heart muscle disease -- can live normal life spans, according to the first science-based guideline fo r diagnosing and treating this disorder.

The joint recommendations of the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association are published online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association and Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"HCM is widely misperceived as a fatal condition, but a diagnosis of HCM is not a diagnosis of sudden cardiac death. We now have effective treatments to help most patients manage the condition, although it remains the most common cause of sudden death in the young and in competitive athletes," said Bernard J. Gersh, M.D., Ph.D., co-chairman of the guideline writing committee and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn.

HCM is a genetic disorder which changes the way the heart functions, including erratic heart beats and obstructed blood flow from the left side of the heart. It can also cause sudden cardiac death, which occurs when lethal heart rhythms intervene. However, for many people, HCM is symptomless and benign.

Heart enlargement thickening in HCM most commonly involves the ventricular septum, the muscular wall that separates the left and right sides of the heart. Abnormal motion of the mitral valve may obstruct the flow of blood from the left ventricle to the aorta artery causing the heart to work harder to keep an adequate amount of bloo d flowing throughout the body.

"A variety of mutations (more than 1,400) in one or more genes of the sarcomere (contractile unit of the heart) cause HCM, but account for only about 50 percent of clinically identified patients. Many other genes and mutations will be discovered to explain HCM in other patients," said Barry Maron, M.D., co-chairman of the guideline writing committee and director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, Minneapolis, Minn.

HCM is the most common inherited heart disease, occurring in one per 500 people and therefore at least 600,000 Americans.

"The typical cardiologist might see one new HCM case a year. Many patients with HCM will benefit by seeking treatment from clinical centers of excellence focused on this disease, which have the most contemporary medical and surgical treatments available," Maron said.

Managing HCM-related heart failure can be complicated, particularly in patients who do not respond to standard drug therapy, such as beta- and calcium-channel blockers.

"There are highly successful surgical and catheter-based approaches, best carried out in centers of excellence," Maron said.

Among the other recommendations in the newly released guideline:
          --  Drug therapy with beta-blockers, verapamil or disopyramide, can control
              symptoms such as shortness of breath.
          --  The most appropriate treatment for advanced heart failure, due to
   &n bsp;          obstruction in patients who don't respond to medication, remains
              transaortic surgical septal myectomy -- a procedure to remove excessive
              muscle from the septum and improve the symptoms.
          --  For patients who are not candidates for surgery, catheter-based alcohol
              septal ablation is an alternative treatment option. The procedure
              introduces alcohol in the heart and causes a myocardial infarction
              (heart attack) to reduce the muscle mass of the septum.
          --  All patients diagnosed with HCM should undergo a comprehensive
              evaluation of their risk of sudden cardiac arrest, including a personal
              and family history and non invasive assessment with an echocardiogram.
          --  HCM patients should be provided genetic counseling and genetic testing
              if appropriate.
          --  HCM with or without obstruction should disqualify individuals from
              participating in most competition sports. Patients can participate in
              low-in tensity competitive sports, such as golf and a range of
              recreational sporting activities.
          --  Prevention of sudden death is possible in HCM using the implantable
              defibrillator in selected patients judged to be at high risk based on
              risk markers such as fainting or a history of a family member with
       & nbsp;      sudden death.
Co-authors are: Robert O. Bonow, M.D.; Joseph A. Dearani, M.D.; Michael A. Fifer, M.D.; Mark S. Link, M.D.; Sridhar S. Naidu, M.D.; Rick A. Nishimura, M.D.; Steve R. Ommen, M.D.; Harry Rakowski, M.D.; Christine E. Seidman, M.D.; Jeffrey A. Towbin, M.D.; James E. Udelson, M.D. and Clyde W. Yancy, M.D.

Author disclosures are on the statement.

The statement was developed in collaboration with the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, American Society of Echocardiography, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Heart Failure Society of America, Heart Rhythm Society, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association's policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and e vents. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding .

NR11- 1156 (Circulation/Gersh/Maron)

Stay up to date on the latest news from American Heart Association scientific meetings, including Scientific Sessions 2010, by following us at www.twitter.com/heartnews . We will be tweeting from the conference using hashtag #AHA10News.

Additional resources available to right column of this link :

The American Heart Association logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=9940

For Media Inquiries:

AHA: Darcy Spitz: (212) 878-5940; darcy.spitz@heart.org
ACC: Amanda Jekowsky: (202) 375-6645; ajekowsk@acc.org

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire, www.globenewswire.com

SOURCE: American Heart Association

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tito Gonzalez honored for Paul Waller's life with CPR

Cardiac arrest survivor Paul Waller, right, hugs Janette Myers of Rural Metro who helped attend to him when he had a heart attack. / Annette Lein/staff photographer

Cardiac arrest survivor Paul Waller, right, gives an award to his friend Tito Gonzalez during a recognition ceremony for the people responsible for saving Waller’s life. / Annette Lein/staff photographer
When Paul Waller told his friend Tito Gonzalez that he didn't feel too well and was going to skip a workout at the YMCA last spring, those could have been his last words.
Not too long after the chat, he was stricken by a heart attack.

Gonzalez, sensing something just wasn't right, decided he would stop by Waller's home in Rochester's South Wedge to check on his friend.
He found Waller in cardiac arrest and immediately administered CPR, a skill he learned in high school but had never had to use. Waller, 59, will forever be grateful to Gonzalez, 26, who chose to pass along praise to a higher power.
"I'd like to thank God because sometimes our instincts are not our own," he said. "I don't know why I went over. Possibly the voice of God was telling me something's wrong."
Waller and Gonzalez, who are deaf, met about two years ago at a group gathering.

Gonzalez provided the life-saving help until emergency responders from the Rochester Fire Department and Rural/Metro Medical Services arrived.
"This case is an especially gratifying one for us in that everything went right," said Thomas Bonfiglio, general manager of Rural/Metro.

Gonzalez; Charles Scinta, Jason Walter, Brian Miller and Mike Scialdone from the fire department; and Amy Ruffo, Larry Onderdonk, Jeneane Terranova, Janette Myers, Mikhail Koroton and David Leisten from Rural/Metro were presented with the American Heart Association's Heart Saver Hero Award.
According to the heart association, less than 8 percent of people who have sudden cardiac arrest outside a hospital survive and/or survive without severe damage to the heart or vital organs.
The American Heart Association is using the story of Waller and Gonzalez in its push for mandatory CPR training for all New York high school students.
"Schools exist to teach students about life; why not teach them to save a life?" said Dr. John Cullen, board president of the AHA.

Waller wholeheartedly would agree.
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