JASPER, Ga. (April 29, 2011) – Piedmont Mountainside Hospital recently presented Mountainside Education Center High School with an AED, or an automatic external defibrillator. Sudden cardiac arrest strikes over 300,000 people in America each year, making it one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Because sudden cardiac arrest is related to abnormal heart rhythm, not to heart disease, young people as well as old can be at risk. One of the best ways to ensure survival when a cardiac arrest occurs is to receive early defibrillation.
Cheryl Sewell, site administrator at Mountainside Education Center High School, accepts an automatic external defibrillator from Mike Robertson, Piedmont Mountainside Hospital president and CEO.
“We believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Mike Robertson, president and CEO of Piedmont Mountainside Hospital. “No matter the treatment a patient receives at the hospital, the steps that are taken at the scene, even before the EMT’s arrive, are critical. Piedmont Mountainside Hospital has donated several AEDs to area schools in an effort to better prepare them for a medical emergency.”
The cause of sudden cardiac arrest is not fully understood. Unlike a heart attack, many people who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest have no prior symptoms. However, when it happens, the American Red Cross has identified four critical steps to survival. They include early access to care by immediately calling 911, early CPR, early defibrillation to re-start the heart and early cardiac life support administered by a doctor or healthcare professional. Of these steps, early defibrillation is the most uncommon due to the cost and availability of AEDs.