Why Did We Create Anna’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor Video?

To Celebrate a Life Saved

Today, Anna has a second chance at life thanks to the quick thinking of a few individuals and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). We worked with Anna to share her story as we passionately believe that the world needs to know about people like Anna who have survived a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

To Draw Attention to Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Anna is not alone in having had an SCA. Latest statistics suggest that 40,000 Canadians die annually from this electrical malfunction of the heart. SCAs do not discriminate – they can happen to anyone at any time, and without warning.

To Focus on a Solution

The only way to treat an SCA is to deliver a shock by way of an Automated External Defibrillator. The biggest challenge is one of timing. For every 1 minute delay in delivering a shock, the survival rate decreases by 7% to 10% (Larsen et al, 1993).

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor

So, How Do We Work Toward Fewer Deaths Due to SCA?

In the simplest terms, we need more AEDs, greater access to them, and more awareness about their location and use.

AED Availability
SCAs can happen anywhere. With this mind, we need more AEDs in the places that we frequent. If someone is to be shocked within minutes, an AED must always be nearby. Airports have been early adopters of AED technology and have save stories to show for it, which is great. But we need them in more hotels, restaurants, golf courses, schools, community centres, and other areas that people gather.

AED Accessibility
Having more AEDs out there is the first step, but this will only make a difference if the AEDs can be found and accessed. These life-saving devices must be well signed, and reachable by as many people as possible. An AED hidden away in a back office is far less useful than one on prominent display.

As you move through your daily life, keep an eye out for AEDs. Where does a good job of providing accessible AEDs? Who could use some help?

AED Awareness
An increased prevalence of accessible AEDs will certainly make a difference, but increasing awareness about them will take things to another level. The more we know about how easy it is to use an AED, the better the survival outcomes will be.

Workplace programs should ensure that all staff are trained properly, and as responsible members of society, we should all do our part to ensure we are trained on AED use.

Help Us Spread the Word

Every day in Canada, people suffer SCAs and we’d like to see every one of them end with a story like Anna’s.

With this in mind, we’ve created this video.

By sharing it with friends and family, you will be helping us spread the word about SCA and increased survival rates through AED and CPR use.

We thank you in advance. To share the video, click one of the links below:

FacebookTwitter – Youtube

 

SCA Awareness – When an Apple Isn’t Apple

If someone were to ask you “what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of October?” Three likely responses would be:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Halloween
  • My Birthday (if your birthday is in October that is)

October - SCA Awareness

At Iridia, we don’t want to forget about those days, but we would like to see a fourth option. If you’re ever asked that question, we hope you will say “October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Awareness Month.”

Why is SCA a big deal? You may be thinking “why do we need more awareness? Every movie or crime show out there throws a cardiac arrest into their plot.” You are right, however, we know Hollywood isn’t always accurate and we have the statistics to back that claim up!

The most important thing to know is sudden cardiac arrest is not a type of heart attack, that’s like comparing Apples and Oranges. SCA occurs when the heart has an “electrical malfunction” and stops pumping blood to the rest of the body. A heart attack occurs when the heart has a “plumbing problem” where a blockage prevents the flow of blood to the heart. That’s a big difference.

If you’re like 70% of the population, you didn’t know that.

SCA Awareness

As a leader in the development of medical education; it is our responsibility to help spread SCA Awareness. We believe by learning about SCA you can understand the importance of knowing the difference and even help prevent and treat SCA. Knowing the difference, combined with the right tools such as knowledge of CPR and an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), you can administer life saving care to those who need it.

Learn more about SCA Awareness Month and difference between apples and oranges here from the Heart Rhythm Society.

  • Save 10% on all AEDs purchased during the month! *Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts*

 

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Saves Another Life

With the recent launch of the province-wide Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Program, news of an AED save in Toronto couldn’t have come at a better time. Since 2006, the public defibrillator program in Ontario, funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation has saved 48 lives.

Public Access Defibrillation

Now it is our turn here in BC. With the PAD program underway, we can expect the same impact, as articulated by Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, we will be to “save hundreds of lives”. Indeed, with increased access to AEDS, each of the 2000 SCA deaths reported annually in BC has the potential to be avoided.

The team here at Iridia Medical is excited to play an ongoing role with the HSFBC and PAD program, we hope to see many lives saved.

Toronto AED Save

TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2013 /CNW/ – Once again, AEDs and CPR have proven their worth as a Toronto man is alive today thanks to the quick actions of bystanders. 

On Sunday, January 13, a 51-year-old Toronto-area resident Paul Poce was playing hockey at the Malvern Recreation Centre when he collapsed to the ice after suffering a cardiac arrest. His son Ben Poce, who also works as a paramedic for Peel Regional Paramedic Services, immediately rushed to his father’s side. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest, Poce called out to his teammates to dial 9-1-1, instructed his friend Shawn Nichols to start chest compressions, while he retrieved the on-site AED. 

Read the full story

CPRAbout the Heart and Stroke Foundation:

The Heart and Stroke Foundation (heartandstroke.ca), a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke, reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living and advocacy.

BC PAD Program – Iridia to supply British Columbia with 650 AEDs

BC PAD Program

Michael, Julie, Vern, Allan and Tom at the PAD Program Launch presentation

In 1997, a British Columbia mill suffered a heart-wrenching loss when one of its staff members collapsed and died of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).    The only remedy for an SCA is the delivery of an electric shock that acts to reset the heart’s electrical rhythms – a shock deliverable by an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).   Unfortunately, that shock must come quickly.   For every minute that passes without shock delivery, a person’s chance of survival is reduced by 10%.   In 1997, only ambulance attendants and fire rescue personnel had access to AEDs, and on that day, neither could get to the mill in time with the life-saving AED.

This event, while tragic, led to the formation of Iridia Medical, a BC-based company passionate about broader access to AEDs.  Founded by Dr. Allan Holmes, an emergency-trained physician, Iridia has worked in the intervening years to implement comprehensive AED programs for hundreds of workplaces across the province and throughout Canada.

And then came February 6th, 2013, a particularly special day in our company’s history.

Gathered alongside representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon (HSFBCY), and the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS), our team helped bring forward the announcement that a province-wide Public Access Defibrillation Program initiative was launching.

Kicked off with a highly effective Public Service Announcement and an awareness campaign, the BC PAD Program initiative, funded by the HSFBCY and the Ministry of Health, will see 650 AED units and associated training delivered to communities throughout BC.   The expected impact, as articulated by Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, will be to “save hundreds of lives”.   Indeed, with increased access to AEDS, each of the 2000 SCA deaths reported annually in BC has the potential to be avoided.   This was exactly the case for Anna Shanh, an SCA survivor, who shared her survival story with those at the launch.  It was a stark reminder for us all that SCA doesn’t discriminate; even the young, fit, non-smoking and non-drinking among us are at risk.

In participating in the launch and seeing the efforts invested to bring it to life, we could not be more proud to be the PAD initiative’s exclusive AED provider.   We look forward to working with communities throughout the province as well as with the exceptional teams at both the HSFBCY and BCAS.    We share CEO Diego Marchese’s view that this has the potential to be one of the best programs in Canada, and we look forward to playing our role in ensuring that it is.

For more information and video about the BC PAD Program, visit the BC Government newsroom: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/02/bc-increases-access-to-defibrillators.html

What is Heart Month?

Heart Month is the Heart and Stroke Foundations‘ key opportunity to reach millions of Canadians in February and alert them to the risks of heart disease and stroke. Today, heart disease and stroke take one life every 7 minutes and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor.

Here are the facts:

  • Every day, heart disease and stroke lead to nearly 1,000 hospital visits.
  • Heart disease and stroke rob Canadians of nearly 250,000 potential years of life.
  • Heart disease and stroke kills more women than men, a fact that many women may not realize.
  • Today, less than 10% of children meet recommended physical activity guidelines and less than half eat the recommended fruit and vegetables for optimum health.

Heart Month History

“Heart Month was inspired by a fundraising initiative called “Heart Sunday.” The concept was adopted in British Columbia in the mid-1950s; in Ontario in 1958, and has since expanded across the country. Today Heart Month is a much broader campaign that mobilizes Canadians to rally together in raising awareness and funds that have an enormous impact on the lives of not just heart and stroke patients, but all Canadians. Through the generosity and compassion of volunteers, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has been able to fund critical life-giving research, education and advocacy programs that help save lives.”

In truth, Heart Month is integral in generating awareness for all heart diseases. Did you know Heart disease and stroke take 1 in 3 Canadians before their time and is the #1 killer of women – taking more women’s lives than all forms of cancer combined?

It is an uphill battle against heart disease, but at Iridia Medical, we believe this is a fight we can win, so help celebrate Heart Month with us and spread the word!

Learn More

 

Cardiac Arrest and Marathons – Don’t Take Off Your Running Shoes Just Yet

Marathon runners have been making headlines more and more in recent years. Not because of the times they put up, but rather the dramatic images of runners collapsing and in some cases, dying during or right after an event.

Should you stay out of the race? Not so fast. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that if you want to go the distance, go ahead – as long as you don’t have a pre-existing condition.

The study looked at nearly 11 million runners who took part in marathons between 2000 and 2010.

By scouring media reports and checking with medical staff of races, the researchers discovered 59 cases of cardiac arrest, where a runner became unconscious with no pulse during the race or within an hour of finishing. Unfortunately forty-two of these runners died, and 51 of the 59 cases happened in men.

The overall figures translate to 1 cardiac arrest per 184,000 participants and 1 death per 259,000 participants, the researchers said. Those numbers are low compared to other athletic activities, as shown by prior studies of deaths in college athletes, triathlon participants and previously healthy middle-aged joggers, researchers said.

“You hear about this more and more,” said Dr. Aaron Baggish, senior author of the study.

Cardiac Arrest and Marathons

One of the reasons we have seen an increase in the number of collapses is due to an increase, overall, of runners who are trying to push themselves to stay fit, giving the illusion that cardiac arrest is on the rise amongst runners.

“More cases showed up during 2005-2010 than in the preceding five-year span, but that’s just because more people are participating in the races,” Baggish said. More worrisome was the finding that among male marathoners, the rate of cardiac arrest per 100,000 runners was higher during the latter half of the decade than in the first half.

Baggish thinks that’s because of a shift in attitudes about who can run long distances. Even a decade ago, 26.2 mile marathons were considered appropriate only for very athletic people, he said. But more recently people have come to think of it as “something anyone can do,” and even as a healthy activity for lowering the risk of heart disease, he said. So it has attracted people with a family history of early heart disease or early deaths. “These are just the people who are likely to get into trouble,” says Baggish

In the 31 cardiac arrests for which researchers could find a cause, most were due to clogged hardened arteries or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a sometimes inherited condition in which an unusually thick heart muscle can interfere with the pumping rhythm.

According to Baggish, most of the victims were unaware of their pre-existing conditions, so he would encourage aspiring and experienced runners to talk to their doctors about heart risks associated with distance running.

American Heart Association Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, president of the , called the study “reassuring” for finding so few cardiac arrests. “For most people, running a marathon, if you are so inclined, is a reasonably safe proposition,” he said.

Tomaselli, a heart specialist at Johns Hopkins University, also said runners should pay attention if they feel chest pain, dizziness, light-headedness or unusually short breath or rapid heartbeat while running. “You should listen to your body,” he said.

“We don’t want to alarm people about marathon running. The benefits of exercise are well established” said one of that report’s authors, Dr. Navin Kapur of Tufts Medical Center in Boston. The report shows even seasoned marathon runners can have heart disease, something paramedics should keep in mind if a runner shows suggestive signs, said Kapur.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention

At this time there is no definite way to gauge the likelihood of suffering a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), so reducing the risk is your best strategy. Steps to take include regular checkups, screening for heart disease, and living a heart-healthy lifestyle with the following approaches:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Only use alcohol in moderation
  • Eat a nutritious, balanced diet
  • Stay physically active

Dietary Prevention

A growing body of research supports the role of lifestyle measures in protecting against this sudden, silent killer. Given the serious outcome of this disease, scientists are now looking to diet as one of the most promising primary prevention strategy.

The most important line of defense is adopting heart-healthy lifestyles that can guard against heart disease in the first place.

The urgency of preventive approaches takes on even more meaning when you consider that most victims of SCA weren’t identified as being at risk in the first place.

The results of a study published in a 2011 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that 81 percent of cases of SCA were due to unhealthy lifestyles.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that a Mediterranean-style diet, when combined with other healthful habits, such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and exercising, provided a 92 percent reduced risk of SCA.

The researchers evaluated data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which included information from more than 81,000 women over 26 years.

healthy food

Key findings:

  • Women who ate a diet closest to the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, omega-3 fats, and fish; moderate in alcohol; and light in red meat, had a 40 percent lower risk than women whose diets least resembled the Mediterranean diet
  • Normal-weight women had a 56 percent reduced risk compared with obese women
  • The more the women exercised, the smaller their risk; at least 30 minutes of exercise per day lowered the risk by 28 percent
  • Smoking was the biggest factor: Women who had never smoked had a 75 percent decreased risk than women who smoked at least 25 cigarettes per day

The American Heart Association stresses the following approaches for the general population to achieve ideal cardiovascular health:

  • Fruits and vegetables: at least 4.5 cups per day
  • Fish (preferably oily fish): at least two 3.5-oz servings per week
  • Fiber-rich whole grains: at least three 1-oz-equivalent servings per day
  • Sodium: less than 1,500 mg per day
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages: no more than 450 kcal (36oz) per week
  • Nuts, legumes, and seeds: at least four servings per week
  • Processed meats: no more than two servings per week
  • Saturated fat: less than 7 percent of total energy intake.

We hope we have shed some light on the risks and prevention of SCA. At Iridia, our goal is to fight SCA and the damage it does to our society. Now get out there and start your heart-healthy lifestyle!

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Risks

Recent studies have shed light on many risk factors related to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA); often a quick and silent killer.

Up to ninety percent of those who die from SCA have evidence of plaque (fat and cholesterol) in two or more major arteries. Plaque buildup leads to one common underlying cause: coronary artery disease.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Risks

The Mayo Clinic (a medical research group) reports that because the link between coronary artery disease and SCA is so strong, the same factors that put you at risk of coronary artery disease also may put you at risk of SCA.

These include:

• Family history of coronary artery disease
• Smoking
• Hypertension
• High blood cholesterol
• Obesity
• Diabetes
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Alcohol (more than one to two drinks per day)
• Age (after 45 for men and 55 for women)
• Being male (2-3 times the risk)

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Risks

The American Heart Association reports that Sudden Cardiac Arrest Risks can be caused by almost any known heart condition, they list the following specific factors that further increase the odds:

Scarring or enlargement of the heart from a previous heart attack or other causes can make someone more prone to developing life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.

Cardiomyopathy is a deterioration of the heart muscle; typically a root cause of SCA in athletes.

Heart medications, under certain conditions, can set the stage for arrhythmias that cause SCA. Antiarrhythmic drugs sometimes can produce lethal ventricular arrhythmias, even at normal doses.

Electrical abnormalities, such as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (a condition with an extra electrical pathway in the heart) and long QT syndrome (a disorder of the heart’s electrical activity) may cause SCA in children and young people.

Blood vessel abnormalities, particularly in the coronary arteries and aorta, may be present in young SCD victims. Adrenaline released during intense physical or athletic activity often acts as a trigger for SCA when these abnormalities are present.

Recreational drug use, even in people without organic heart disease, is a cause of SCA.

There are numerous risk factors related to SCA, but there are also ways to reduce the risk. Next week we will highlight some SCA prevention methods that you can incorporate into your everyday life. Don’t forget to check back!

AEDs in the Workplace

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can strike anywhere and at any time. It can happen to anyone: an employee in the workplace or a shopper in a mall.

The only effective treatment for SCA is early defibrillation with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

In North America, more people die each year from sudden cardiac arrest than from breast cancer, prostate cancer, AIDS, handgun incidents, and traffic accidents combined.

In Canada, this amounts to 35,000 to 45,000 lives lost every year. Although AEDs are not legally required in Canadian workplaces, many organizations have implemented AED programs citing the benefits of risk reduction for employees and customers.

AEDs in the Workplace

AEDs in the Workplace

To maximize the value of your AED and exceed the recommendations for WorkSafeBC and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Iridia can provide you with our medical direction package for your AEDs in the workplace, which includes the following components:

  • Emergency Medical Response Procedures – Working with you, we will provide formal procedures to enhance your current plan with the addition of the AED.
  • Physician Consult – You will be able to consult with an Iridia physician who will answer any medical/response questions from your AED response providers.
  • Emergency Health Services Liaison – Iridia will send letters to the nearest Ambulance station and the Fire Department to inform them of your AED program.
  • Post Incident Call Review – Should your facility experience an event where the AED is used, an Iridiaphysician will review the data from the AED and provide reports as needed to British Columbia Ambulance Service and your local hospital. In addition, you will be provided with a written Call Summary Report of the incident which will assist you with continuous quality improvement in your program.
  • Operational Debriefing/Critical Incident Stress – Iridia can arrange for an operational debriefing with the providers who manage a cardiac arrest event to reassure them of their actions. We can also advise management about best practices to provide appropriate emotional and psychological support. If you do not have an employee assistance program, Iridia can also liaise with WorkSafe BC who will coordinate critical incident interventions for work-related traumatic events.

The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation contains legal requirements that must be met by all workplaces under the inspection jurisdiction of WorkSafeBC. Many sections of the Regulation have associated guidelines and policies.

Please follow the link to read the complete WorkSafeBC guidelines and policies for having an AEDs in the workplace.

For more information about AEDs in the workplace, visit WorkSafeBC’s AED Guidelines

 

Defibrillator Liability: Do You Have All the Facts?

Introduction

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) strikes over 45,000 Canadians per year. The only proven treatment for SCA victims is early defibrillation. If no defibrillation is administered within ten minutes of the attack, the chances for survival approach zero.

The latest guidelines from the Heart & Stroke Foundation call for lay responders trained in the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s) as well as CPR.

Organizations that implement early defibrillation programs demonstrate a commitment to the advancement of public health and the welfare of their staff and co-workers.

Defibrillator Liability

Defibrillator Liability

As medical technologies go, public access to defibrillation is relatively new and it is not uncommon for people worrying that novel plans may lead to unexpected problems: problems that can land them in court.

The truth is that legal liability risks associated with early defibrillation programs are remote. Liability concerns should not deter those considering the purchase and use of an AED.

Relevant trial court verdicts suggest that organizations that adopt AED programs face a lower liability risk than those that do not. This includes the US states of Florida and California, which have the highest medical litigation rates in North America.

Many provinces also have laws that limit the types and scope of negligence lawsuits permissible against individuals who render emergency medical care including tort limitation, Good Samaritan laws and a variety of immunity laws.

Defibrillator Liability and the Law

Only two US cases on record directly address the issue of early defibrillation by non-healthcare professionals¹, and both complaints alleged negligence for not having an AED available. Because they were both dismissed on technical grounds, neither case offers much guidance on how future appellate courts might address issues surrounding public access defibrillation.

Future trial court cases will likely revolve around society’s view of reasonableness when businesses are faced with ill or injured patrons.

Courts examining notions of reasonableness in other medical contexts have historically resisted requiring businesses faced with ill or injured patrons to do anything more than summon an ambulance. However, the AED legal and regulatory landscape is evolving.

Action (or inaction) that the courts view as reasonable today may be viewed as unreasonable tomorrow.

Advances in AED technology, their relatively low cost and the now proven ability of these devices to save lives may persuade trial and appellate courts to sanction businesses that do not adopt AED programs.²

A Word on Causation

Defibrillator Liability

A successful negligence lawsuit involving defibrillator liability requires proof that the alleged misconduct caused legally recognized damages such as death or injury. That means any case will allege harm through one of three possible causation theories:

  • Failure to purchase and make available an AED
  • Failure to use an available AED
  • Improper use of an available AED

Businesses that do not deploy AEDs at the scene of an SCA are at the greatest risk in terms of proof of causation.

Next in order of risk are those situations in which an AED is available but not used or improperly used. Modern AEDs are both easy to use and difficult to misuse. These systems have been extensively tested in thousands of cases without a single recorded case of accidental shock. Companies that purchase and train their staff to properly use AEDs assume the lowest causation risk.

Left untreated, a sudden cardiac arrest will always kill the victim. A properly used AED can only help. Therefore, proving medical causation of harm in any early defibrillation case would be extremely difficult.

The most likely causation question to be considered is whether death could have been prevented with –not caused by– the availability and use of an AED.

Minimizing Legal Defibrillator Liability

There are a variety of ways to manage the lawsuit liability risks associated with early defibrillation programs:

1. Design a careful program

The development of a detailed plan for having a trained rescuer quickly arrive at the side of an injured or sick person will reduce the stress burden of any responder, and lead to improvements in administering care.

General rules governing negligence cases suggest organizations that implement a plan for their early defibrillation programs face lower legal liability risks than those that do not.

2. Promote Good Samaritan laws

Most provinces have Good Samaritan laws³ that protect individuals from legal liability flowing from the provision of emergency medical care.

A growing number of laws specifically protect responders to medical emergencies from legal liability under certain circumstances. A review of local laws will help determine whether, and to what degree, liability immunity protection exists.

Summary

Certain types of businesses can actually reduce their exposure to claims of negligence by adopting an AED program.

The notion held by many companies that buying and deploying AEDs increases risk is not borne out in the courts. No one in North America who had used an AED to render aid has ever been sued for that deployment. Moreover, liability risks impacting businesses that implement AED programs can be further reduced by Good Samaritan laws.

Having an early defibrillation program is the right thing for business and the lower risk option to not having one.

Iridia can provide any organization with the components for a comprehensive AED Program including acquisition of the AED and its accessories; physician-led training and certification, response planning and oversight; and liaison with health care agencies.

Our experience as pioneers of occupational AED programs, and our passion for universal public access defibrillation put us in a unique position to offer a high-value program.

1 Somes v. United Airlines, [1995]; and Talit v. Northwest Airlines, [1995]
2 Richard A. Lazar, “Understanding AED Program Legal Issues” [White paper], (2007)
3 British Columbia Good Samaritan Act, chapter172, 1996; Ontario Good Samaritan Act, chapter 2, 2001; Quebec Civil Code, article 1471, 1991; Nova Scotia Volunteer Services Act, chapter 497, section 3, 1989
4 Yukon Territory Emergency Medical Aid Act, chapter 70, 2002; Alberta Emergency Medical Aid Act, chapter E-7, 2000; Northwest Territories Emergency Medical Aid Act, chapter E-4, 1988; Saskatchewan Emergency Medical Aid Act, chapter E-8, 1978