National Information Clearinghouse on Sudden Cardiac Arrest Established

SCA Network to use Web, digital media to fill information gap on nation’s leading killer

Pittsburgh, Pa. – The Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Network, a new national nonprofit organization, has been established to reduce death and disability from SCA, the leading cause of death in the United States. Spearheaded by experts in emergency medicine, cardiology, public health, public policy, adult education and distance learning, the Network aims to increase awareness and influence attitudes and behaviors in the public, as well as the medical and emergency response communities about SCA.

Sudden cardiac arrest affects 340,000 people in the U.S. each year, 10 percent under age 40. Only 6–7 percent survive. Survival rates could be significantly higher — 20 percent or more — if health and safety professionals, the at-risk community, and the general public had a greater appreciation of the fact that SCA is a condition that usually can be treated effectively—if it is treated immediately with quality care. Part of the reason that the huge death toll from SCA continues unabated and with scant objection from the public is the lack of easily accessible, accurate, unbiased information about the causes, prevention and treatment of SCA.

“Many different organizations offer information on various aspects of SCA,” said Michael R. Sayre, MD, Chairman of the SCA Network Board of Directors, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at The Ohio State University, and Chairman of the American Heart Association Basic Life Support Subcommittee. “No organization aggregates and organizes that information in one easy-to-use location. No organization also links together individuals with common interests in SCA. I believe the SCA Network will accomplish this goal.”

The SCA Network will focus on ‘any time, any place’ information sharing, online peer to peer mentoring, and collaboration, creating the premier global Web site on SCA and developing a virtual meeting place that will foster collaboration and action at the community, state and national level.

“Many of us have spent most of our careers trying to figure out a better way to manage SCA through scientific, operational and cultural strategies that work, are easy to disseminate to large, diverse populations, and are clinically appropriate,” said Edward M. Racht, MD, SCA Network Board Member and Medical Director of the City of Austin/Travis County TX Emergency Medical Services. “Any organization that can assist in that quest is a welcome addition to emergency cardiac care.”

People personally affected by SCA, such as SCA survivors and their families, families of those who did not survive, and professional and lay rescuers, have a profound appreciation for the importance of this critical public health issue. Yet the public, and even many in the health and safety professions, have yet to understand its significance. “I envision that the SCA Network will provide current, objective, sound information and guidance not only to those presently enlightened about SCA, but to the even greater numbers who as yet have little appreciation for SCA’s devastating toll on public health,” said Richard A. Lazar, Esq., SCA Network Board Member and President/CEO of AED Risk Insights and the AED Law Center.

“We want to help people understand that sudden cardiac arrest — often incorrectly described as ‘a massive heart attack’ — is a treatable condition,” said Mary Newman, President of the new organization. “We want to make SCA, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), AEDs (automated external defibrillators) and ICDs (implantable cardioverter defibrillators) common household terms.”

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