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