Michigan Association of School Nurses

MDHHS Press Release

Posted over 4 years ago by Rachel VanDenBrink

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Michigan residents encouraged to be prepared for cardiac event response
Responding to sudden cardiac events, especially in youth, can save lives

LANSING, Mich. – The first week of February is being recognized by Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young Awareness (SCDY) Week. This week launches the celebration of American Heart Month and promotes ways to prevent death at a younger age due to cardiac conditions.

"Cardiac arrest can happen at any age, but is especially devastating when this occurs in a young person," said Dr. Eden Wells, Chief Medical Executive with MDHHS. "By raising awareness and with appropriate screening and care, young people at risk can be identified and have longer, healthier lives. Evaluating family health history and heart health are keys to identifying those at risk and preventing sudden cardiac death of the young."

Every year, sudden cardiac death of the young claims the lives of more than 300 children and young adults under the age of 40 in Michigan. SCDY is when a young, apparently healthy person dies suddenly and unexpectedly from a cardiac-related condition or unexplained cause. Often, a sudden cardiac event is the first sign in a young person, and therefore it is important to be prepared for cardiac emergencies. SCDY is sometimes caused by inherited conditions.

The American Heart Association (AHA) 'Chain of Survival' is vital to increasing the chance of survival for cardiac arrest victims. This includes five steps: early recognition of a cardiac arrest and calling 9-1-1; rapid bystander response with hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); use of an automated external defibrillator (AED); advanced life support; and post cardiac care.

"When these unexpected events occur, being prepared and a quick response can save lives. In fact, the chance of survival is higher when CPR and the AED are used within 3 minutes of the victim's collapse," stated Wells.

Michigan schools are now required by state law to have a written cardiac emergency response plan. Michigan schools can also receive an honorary designation as a MI HEARTSafe School by taking additional steps to prepare for a cardiac event. Since 2014, 162 Michigan schools have been recognized as a MI HEARTSafe School by MDHHS, AHA, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan High School Athletic Association, and Michigan Alliance for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death.

For additional details about MI HEARTSafe Schools, or to apply to become one, visit www.migrc.org/miheartsafe. For more information about SCDY prevention in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/scdy.