[HEADLINE: School defibrillators pushed]

Author: Tim Stewart (---.dsl.dytnoh.ameritech.net)

Date: 12-17-02 12:30

Copyright 2002 Chattanooga Publishing Company

Chattanooga Times/Chattanooga Free Press

December 4, 2002 Wednesday


LENGTH: 941 words

HEADLINE: School defibrillators pushed

BYLINE: David Jenkins Staff Writer


Chattanooga cardiologist Mitch Mutter believes a portable defibrillator at

courtside could have saved Hank Geathers' life. A portable device that could fit

inside a locker, present in the right gym at the right time, might have been

able to save Reggie Lewis.

Two of basketball's most tragic losses were caused by a heart disease called

hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that can lead to a fatal heart attack

in an athlete who appears healthy. But it is also a condition that can be

controlled, Mutter said.

Mutter has long advocated making an automatic external defibrillator (AED)

available at athletic events. The doctor, who works at the Chattanooga Heart

Institute adjacent to Memorial Hospital, held a local symposium for football

coaches before last season when the deaths of two North Jackson High School

football players and Minnesota Vikings All-Pro tackle Korey Stringer heightened


"Most deaths on the football field are due to heat rather than a

cardiovascular problem," Mutter said. "But having defibrillators available will

occasionally help an athlete. In the case of Geathers, who was playing in a

conference basketball tournament, having a defibrillator at courtside might have

saved that guy's life."

Stringers' death in the summer of 2001 was proven to be heat related. Mutter

reserved specific comment about the North Jackson cases because he said he

wasn't familiar enough with them. In one of those, Nicholas Allen, an autopsy

revealed an enlarged heart.

Mutter's cause is preparedness.

"The problem is the exorbitant cost of being so thorough," he said.

"Prospective athletes are asked about a family history of heart disease on

questionnaires. We've done a lot of EKGs based on anything like that which

appear on a questionnaire."

But not every athlete knows, or tells the truth, about so-called medical "red

flags." Also, not everyone at an athletic event is a well-conditioned athlete;

coaches, officials and fans have been among those suffering heart attacks during


Mutter's message has been heard, if not widely acted upon.

Emergency medicial technicians who attend every local football game have long

had defibrillating equipment as part of their gear. Mutter said Baylor and

McCallie are the only local schools that he knows to have AEDs on premises.

The Sports Barn purchased an AED after Mutter himself performed cardio $

3,000, he said.

"The cost is half of what it used to be," Mutter explained, "but at $3,000

plus training, it's still a cost issue for most public school programs."

The training issue is a ticklish one. Mutter arranged to train McCallie's

entire coaching staff after the 2002 football season. Baylor, according to

school athletic trainer Eddie Davis, has two AEDs but only one nurse who is

properly trained. One AED is centrally located in the main school building; the

other is taken to athletic events.

Training, free of charge in some instances, should be the least of the

concerns but remains one of the major ones.

"Training only involves a total of 41'2 to 5 hours, and that's because CPR is

involved," said Davis, who said he has never had to revive a heart-attack victim

in 27 years of covering athletic events. "But the issue is the availability. If

you can afford to have the equipment, you should have it."

A national organization, the Public Access Defibrillation League, cites only

a 3-percent success rate when manual CPR is performed on a cardiac-arrest

victim. The use of an AED or any other defibrillating unit raises the chances of

survival to more than 40 percent.

One obstacle has been a fear of liability that some insurance companies have

cited. This was briefly a problem in the Sports Barn case, according to Mutter.

However, the PADL has documented that no one has ever been successfully sued

for performing CPR, and many states now have so-called Good Samaritan laws

protecting someone using an AED from liability.

Recently, Philips Medical Systems of Andover, Mass., received clearance from

the Food and Drug Administration to start selling a heart defibrillator designed

for home use. The HeartStart Home Defibrillator will be sold on the Internet and

in selected CVS pharmacies in New York and $2,295. A doctor's prescription will

be required to purchase the device, used to treat cardiac arrest. A rollout to

CVS pharmacies in other locations could follow next year.

It's progress. But Mutter said that there's always room for more.

"Technology has gone a long way to prolong life," he said. "But it can only

take you so far. All of us, as patients, need to know it's up to us to take care

of ourselves."

E-mail David Jenkins at [email protected]

State Laws Protecting AED Users

* Georgia: Provides immunity for any first reponder who acts in good faith

and without gross negligence, provided the patient does not "object" to said

treatment -- even if the individual does so without the benefit of proper

training. The law provides for first-responder use of AED with an expanded

definition of "first responder" as "any person or agency who provides on-site

care" until trained care arrives.

* Tennessee: Provides immunity for any person responsible for creating an AED

program. That person shall, in writing, document where the AED is kept, who is

authorized to use the device and see to their proper training. All usage will be

documented and reported.

* Alabama: Provides immunity for a properly trained AED operation, the

training entity, any person responsible for the keeping of an AED and any

physician who serves as medical director for the AED.

GRAPHIC: Dr. Mitch Mutter

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis Baylor athletic trainer Eddie Davis oepns out the

portable defibrillator that is taken to Red Raiders athletic events.

LOAD-DATE: December 17, 2002


[Re: HEADLINE: School defibrillators pushed]

Author: Lisa Salberg (---.dyn.optonline.net)

Date: 12-17-02 12:48

The world is changing right before our eyes! every day more AED's are out there and that is a wonderful thing!

Next we will be to ID those at risk before they need the AED...time will make it happen!

Best to all!



[Re: HEADLINE: School defibrillators pushed]

Author: Sarah B. Board Moderator (12.144.99.---)

Date: 12-17-02 13:28

FYI: I just wanted to point out that the new AEDs that they put in public places don't require training --it has a diagram for where to put the pads and then you either push a big red button if they need a shock or some don't even let you push the button --the machine does it. There is usually a card on how to do CPR.

However, having CPR training never hurt anyone.



[Re: HEADLINE: School defibrillators pushed]

Author: Allen Bates (---.motorola.com)

Date: 12-18-02 11:09


I believe you have (understandably) misspoken. In order to place an AED in a location there must be a doctors prescription written and training must be required.

However, I believe that your intentions are to point out the ease of usage and you are so, so correct. I heard once that untrained six-graders had been tested and their degree of proficiency was only slightly lower than for trained personnel.

Nevertheless training is REQUIRED to place the units in the public (PAD program).

If there was no trained person available in a life saving situation, a "lay" person could use the device using the instruction from the AED. The units I have seen have voice commands as well as pictures on the pads to show where to place them.

And as we all know, doing something is better than doing nothing - thankfully there are also the Good Samaritan laws to protect those who try.



[Re: HEADLINE: School defibrillators pushed]

Author: Allen Bates (---.motorola.com)

Date: 12-18-02 11:31

Apologies for the repeat information in my previous response, I should have read it more thoroughly before writing.

One correction to the infornation that I would like to note isn't about the AED's per se, but the line which states that "Most deaths on the football field are due to heat..." This is not true.

According to the figures from Dr. Fred Mueller of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina, heart related incidents are consistantly higher than either heat related or injury related incidents, year after year. That little tidbit was ignored when it was reported that heat related incidents were on the rise.