Safety always comes before the game, especially when young people are involved. With sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) being the number one cause of death among student athletes, parents and coaches must be prepared for such an unimaginable event. Often times, SCA occurs in student athletes for one of these three reasons: A blow to the chest (Commotio Cordis); structural heart defects (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Marfan syndrome, etc.); or electrical heart defects (long QT syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson White Syndromes, etc.).
Commotio Cordis is Latin for “agitation of the heart,” which occurs when there is a blow to the chest between heartbeats. This can trigger a SCA. According to a report by the UT Southwestern Medical Center, many of these incidents take place when youths are playing baseball, where the ball has the ability to travel at very high speeds. For example, when a student athlete is struck in the chest with a baseball, the heart will go into ventricular fibrillation. This means the heart will begin an uncoordinated quivering, and unless an external automatic defibrillator (AED) is present to shock the heart back into its appropriate rhythm, it will eventually stop.
Though Commotio Cordis is considered a rare event, is still the second most common cause of sudden death among athletes. It is most common in teenage boys, usually dropping off around the age of 20. The age factor —according to the UT report — could be related to the strengthening of the chest wall and a decline in playing sports after high school. Regardless, coaches and parents should learn to recognize the signs of Commotio Cordis in order to ensure the right precautions are taken for the safety of these athletes.
Be AED and CPR ready should you notice any of the below risk factors in a young athlete, especially if it follows trauma to the chest:
- Fainting or seizures during or after exercising
- Any indication of chest pains
- Unexplained shortness of breath or long time to catch breath
It’s happened! Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) just struck in the person next to you, and they are in dire need of an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Luckily, you know where the AED is located, and it also has the ability to walk you through CPR. But as you grab this lifesaving device, the unthinkable happens — or rather, it doesn’t. The AED isn’t rescue ready. The device hasn’t been checked for preventative maintenance in years.
According to a study by Uof L researchers, 21 percent of 322 AEDs at 190 public, non-hospital settings failed at least one phase of testing. Of that number, five percent had expired batteries, which would not allow them to work in a time of need.
Unfortunately, there are no required standards for the maintenance of AEDs or its registration. This makes the upkeep entirely voluntary for the AED carrier. Initially, the AED is registered with the vendor in order for the purchaser to receive updates on any recalls and advisories.
Cardio Partners offers preventative maintenance services to ensure your device is rescue ready. This helps to cut on costs of any unnecessary repairs or startling discoveries should it not work in a time of need. Preventative maintenance can help to guarantee a long lifetime for your piece of equipment; so that you can rest assured that is going to be ready in a time of need.
With school back in full swing again, teachers, coaches and other faculty members must strive to create a safe environment for every child that walks through their doors. Having that responsibility is big, but creating a little piece of mind by implementing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools is even bigger. When we lose nearly 7,000 young people to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year, it’s hard not to concern ourselves with the best way to respond should it strike during school hours. Not every school can afford to have emergency personnel on the premises, so having a life-saving source is key — especially when the AED is designed to walk any rescuer through defibrillation and CPR using voice prompts.
Despite the fact SCA can strike at any time in people of all ages and fitness levels, only 17 out of 50 states in the U.S. are required to install AEDs in schools, says an analysis published in the Journal of the American College Cardiology. This seems like an impossible number of states without the requirement for AEDs in schools, especially considering that defibrillation within three minutes of SCA can increase a person’s survival to 70 percent.
Often times, SCA occurs in young persons between the ages 10-19 years old; however, it can still strike in children of all ages without warning. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, two-thirds of SCA-related deaths in children happen during exercise or activity. With this in mind, preparation for such a tragic event can start with simple CPR, AED and first training.
Knowing that AEDs are crucial to increasing someone’s survival rate, there’s no question as to why they’re needed in schools. So, before investing in an AED at your facility, you first want to be sure it’s affordable, reliable and, most importantly, easy to use. Fortunately, models like the Zoll AED Plus and the HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P can offer a solution. Both of these affordable, lifesaving devices use voice prompts, which helps guide any rescuer through the resuscitation process. This allows the user to feel confident in their rescuing abilities during a very high stress situation.