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HEADLINE: Having AEDs in Schools Can Reduce the Number

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  • HEADLINE: Having AEDs in Schools Can Reduce the Number

    Copyright 2003 PR Newswire Association, Inc.
    PR Newswire

    October 24, 2003, Friday

    SECTION: STATE AND REGIONAL NEWS

    DISTRIBUTION: TO EDUCATION, FAMILY AND MEDICAL EDITORS

    LENGTH: 1006 words

    HEADLINE: Having AEDs in Schools Can Reduce the Number of Children Who Die from
    Sudden Cardiac Arrest Each Year;
    National meeting presents findings and recommendations

    DATELINE: WASHINGTON, Oct. 24

    BODY:

    The statistics are alarming. Approximately 7,000 children, including
    adolescents, die from sudden cardiac arrest each year. Moreover, it is estimated
    that one out of every 200,000 high school athletes die from sudden cardiac
    arrest each year. The average age of collapse among school-aged children is 17,
    and a large percentage of these victims are male. The cause of sudden death in
    young competitive athletes varies, but most result from an undiagnosed
    congenital heart abnormality, which tragically provides few or no prior
    symptoms. Medical experts believe many of these kids could be saved if an
    automated external defibrillator (AED) was used within minutes of collapse.
    To help reduce the mortality of sudden cardiac arrest in school-aged
    children, school athletes and adults, the University of Pittsburgh National
    Center for Early Defibrillation (NCED) is devoting a half-day of discussions on
    AEDs in schools from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Friday, Oct. 24 at the Hyatt Regency on
    Capitol Hill. The sessions are part of the University of Pittsburgh NCED
    Congress of Champions and Survivor Summit that began on Wednesday.
    The topics to be discussed during the school sessions includes science and
    implications of cardiac arrest in kids, state laws that support AEDs in schools
    and successful grassroots efforts to place AEDs in schools.
    The half-day session will conclude with the University of Pittsburgh NCED
    official position statement on AEDs in schools and best practice
    recommendations. This position statement stems from a panel debate held earlier
    in the year. Meeting participants included representatives from the American
    Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others
    representing cardiac heart-safe programs, and parents who started a grassroots
    effort for school-site AED programs after losing a child to sudden cardiac
    arrest.
    "All school systems should assess their ability to respond effectively to
    sudden cardiac emergencies that may occur in school or at school events, not
    only to protect students, but adults as well, since schools are regularly used
    as mass gathering places. With AEDs becoming more widely available, and more lay
    people becoming trained in their use, school systems should also implement
    age-appropriate CPR and AED training to be certain that every student develops
    competency skills before graduation," stated Mary Newman, executive director of
    the University of Pittsburgh NCED.
    The University of Pittsburgh NCED also recommends that school-site AED
    programs be developed in consultation with the community emergency medical
    services (EMS) system.

    The school session speakers include:

    -- Stuart Berger, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of
    Wisconsin. Dr. Berger also is medical director of the Herma Heart
    Center at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and medical director of
    Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam's Memory), named after
    Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old Whitefish Bay high school student who
    collapsed and died during a basketball game. Project ADAM is aimed at
    saving the lives of other Wisconsin high school students.

    -- Terry Gordon, D.O., F.A.C.C., from Akron General Hospital in Akron,
    Ohio. Dr. Gordon also is a member of the American Heart Association in
    Summit County, Ohio. He has been instrumental in placing AEDs in
    junior high and high schools in Summit County, Ohio.

    -- John Acompora, whose son Louis J. Acompora died at age 14 after being
    struck in the chest with a lacrosse ball in Suffolk County, N.Y.

    -- Rachel and John Moyer, whose son Greg died at age 15 when he collapsed
    in the locker room during halftime at a basketball game in East
    Stroudsburg, Pa.

    -- Loreen Utech, R.N., B.S.N., from Children's Hospital of Milwaukee and
    administrator for Project ADAM.

    -- Alice Blair, director of state government relations from the American
    Red Cross in Washington, D.C., who will moderate a panel discussion on
    state laws and lobbying.

    In Pennsylvania, free AEDs were made available for schools through the
    Pennsylvania Department of Education Act. 4 of 2001, which was signed by former
    Governor Tom Ridge. The law established a one-time AED program to assist schools
    with acquiring AEDs. As a result, each school district in Pennsylvania was
    offered two free AEDs and each intermediate unit and area vocational-technical
    school was offered one free AED. In addition, AEDs were made available to other
    school entities including non-public, private, charter and independent schools
    that met program requirements. To date, 13 other states have introduced or
    adopted legislation promoting school-site AED programs.
    The University of Pittsburgh NCED was established in January 2000 with
    initial funding from The Medtronic Foundation and is the only national
    clearinghouse dedicated to providing comprehensive information on sudden cardiac
    arrest and early defibrillation. The NCED also is manufacturer- neutral; it does
    not endorse any one manufacturer or product.
    The University of Pittsburgh NCED's mission is to foster optimal immediate
    care for victims of sudden cardiac arrest by providing leadership, expertise and
    information related to early defibrillation. The University of Pittsburgh NCED's
    vision is to be recognized as a national leader and the premier resource center
    dedicated to the development of quality early defibrillation efforts.
    More information about the University of Pittsburgh NCED and Congress of
    Champions and Survivor Summit is available at www.early-defib.org .

    SOURCE University of Pittsburgh

    CONTACT: Maureen McGaffin, email, [email protected], or Lisa Rossi, email,
    [email protected], both of the National Center for Early Defibrillation, Press
    room, +1-202-942-1567, or cell, +1-412-302-9475

    URL: http://www.prnewswire.com

    LOAD-DATE: October 25, 2003

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