Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association Says Deaths of Three Detroit Marathon Runners Underscore Need for More Public Awareness

Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:59am EDT

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Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association Says Deaths of Three Detroit Marathon
Runners Underscore Need for More Public Awareness

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The tragic deaths of three
runners in Sunday's Detroit Marathon underscore how frequently and
indiscriminately sudden cardiac arrest strikes Americans, the Sudden Cardiac
Arrest Association said today.

"Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can happen any time and anywhere, even impacting
seemingly healthy athletes, young adults, and those without any known signs of
heart disease," said Dr. Vince Mosesso, medical director for the Sudden
Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA).  "Our sympathies are extended to the
families of the three Detroit runners, and we will defer to the local medical
examiner for conclusive reports on the cause of death, but the collapse of
three runners in one race only heightens the importance of greater public
education and awareness about sudden cardiac arrest."

Mosesso said that nearly 300,000 U.S. deaths are attributed to SCA each year,
resulting in the collapse of an American about once every two minutes.  While
early bystander and immediate CPR and AED use have been shown to significantly
improve survival, still many SCA victims do not receive treatment fast enough
and the overall survival rate remains tragically low at eight percent.  He
urged the public to remember these basic facts about sudden cardiac arrest:

    --  SCA is different than a heart attack, and involves an electrical
        disruption of the heart that results in a very rapid but extremely
        heart beat, prohibiting the heart from circulating blood and oxygen to
        the body (as compared to a pumping malfunction from a blocked artery
        that is often the cause of a heart attack)
    --  SCA requires immediate CPR and often the shock of a defibrillator to
        restore the heart's natural rhythm
    --  A previous heart attack, coronary artery disease and a family history
        sudden death or unexplained syncope (fainting) are among the risk
        factors that should always be shared with a personal physician, as
        as other risk factors such as obesity, smoking and diabetes

    --  Implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) provide round-the-clock
        protection for more than a million Americans identified as at risk of

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association is the nation's largest public advocacy
organization exclusively dedicated to sudden cardiac arrest awareness and
prevention.  For more information, please visit

SOURCE  Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association

Jill Talley of SCAA, +1-202-719-8926, +1-240-338-6479 (cell),
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