Feature | June 11, 2007

Time to Stop a Killer on the Loose

Three years ago Judy Sudmeier was talking on the telephone at work when, without warning, her heart stopped beating. Stopped dead. But, unlike hundreds of thousands of victims of
sudden cardiac arrest, Judy didn't die.
A registered nurse working in a clinical environment, Judy was fortunate enough to be
surrounded by medical professionals who acted quickly, resuscitated her and saved her life. Today, she's more than just thankful to be alive — she has become a spokesperson for the newly launched Sudden Cardiac Arrest Coalition, which was announced May 10 in Denver during the Heart Rhythm Society's Annual Scientific Sessions.
The Coalition asserts that the nation is overdue for an urgent, federally driven offense against the disease that claims more lives each year in the U.S. than breast cancer, lung cancer, stroke or AIDS combined — more than 250,000. And so, more than 25 leading heart advocacy groups have banded together around one central mission: To urge Congress and federal agencies involved in national health policies and programs to devote more resources to improving public awareness of SCA and increasing research and access to life-saving therapies.
Critical care clinicians know what most of the American public does not: SCA is not the same as a heart attack. Unlike a heart attack's “plumbing” origin of coronary artery blockage that interrupts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart, SCA is an electrical short-circuiting of the heart, in which, for reasons largely still unknown, the heart muscle abruptly and
without warning ceases to beat, and hence to pump blood to the rest of the body.
I'm pleased to see the names of so many organizations that have committed their support to the Coalition, and pleasantly surprised that on a list predominantly comprised of heart-focused societies, foundations and corporations, the National Association of EMS Physicians is also included. I hope more critical care professional groups will examine the goals of this new Coalition and join its numbers, too, so that the federal government will recognize its responsibility to allocate or perhaps re-channel resources to actively combat SCA.
Despite the widespread lack of public understanding about SCA, as well as the shortfalls in availability and comprehension about using automatic external defibrillators (AEDs), Americans indicated in the Coalition's national public survey their
anxiety about the deadly event of SCA and voiced overwhelming support for increases in awareness as well as research and treatments. What the public does understand is that when this sudden, silent killer strikes, odds of survival are frighteningly slim — about 95 percent of all SCA victims die because they don’t receive life-saving defibrillation within four to six minutes, before brain and permanent death start to occur, according to the Coalition.
Judy Sudmeier was lucky. A fellow on a racquetball court at my local health club last year was not, and so many more like him are being snatched away, Judy says, “before their time.” In the very near future I hope more acute-care providers — the life-savers of the critically ill and injured — will also participate in this critical effort to save the seemingly healthy.
Here's the choice I see for many more medical societies: (1) Disregard the SCA battle because it's too remote or unrelated to their medical specialty, or (2) Learn more, fight back and help tip the scale on those disheartening statistics.
Thanks for reading.

Related Content

Sponsored Content | Whitepapers | PACS | July 09, 2018
The move toward value-based reimbursement (VBR) models is putting pressure on healthcare organizations to modernize...
Sponsored Content | Case Study | PACS | July 09, 2018
One of the Northeast’s major teaching hospitals is an international leader in virtually every area of medicine. It has...
Wake Radiology Launches First Installation of EnvoyAI Platform
News | Artificial Intelligence | June 13, 2018
Artificial intelligence (AI) platform provider EnvoyAI recently completed their first successful customer installation...
PACS and the Road to Reconstruction
Feature | PACS | June 05, 2018 | By Dave Whitney and Jef Williams
The PACS — picture archiving and communication systems — have been in existence for more than 45 years. One of the...
Intelerad Introduces InteleOne Maestro Enterprise Workflow Orchestration Solution
Technology | PACS Accessories | May 31, 2018
Intelerad Medical Systems announced the release of InteleOne Maestro, its new enterprise imaging workflow orchestration...
Konica Minolta Releases New Turn-Around-Time Feature for Exa Workflow
Technology | PACS | May 30, 2018
Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas Inc. will introduce a new worklist feature, Turn-Around-Time (TAT), for its Exa...
Illuminate and Medexprim Partner to Enhance PACS Data Mining
News | PACS | May 30, 2018
U.S.-based Softek Illuminate and the entrepreneurial French firm Medexprim will be combining, distributing and...
Intelerad Launches AI Initiative for Imaging Workflow Intelligence and Analytics
News | Artificial Intelligence | May 29, 2018
Intelerad Medical Systems announced the launch of its artificial intelligence (AI) initiative along with the expansion...
Australia's Largest Public Health System Selects Sectra for Enterprise Imaging IT Solution
News | PACS | May 24, 2018
Australia’s NSW Health signed a Proof of Concept agreement naming Sectra as the preferred vendor for a large enterprise...
Mach7 Technologies and Client Outlook Partner on Reconstructed Enterprise PACS Solution
News | Enterprise Imaging | May 23, 2018
May 23, 2018 — Mach7 Technologies and Client Outlook announced their expanded partnership to focus on today’s prevale
Overlay Init