January is always a big month for our foundation. This year we have 6 students from DePauw University who have relocated to Louisville for the month to teach CPR. The instructors have gone through their training and demonstrations and are ready to start tomorrow.
We were fortunate to be asked to come on to WHAS TV today to speak about cardiac arrest and teaching hands only CPR. Rachel Platt, the news anchor, has always been a big supporter of our foundation. It was really great going on the show. In addition, it was the first time that our intern Sydney had ever been on TV. She was really poised and did an outstanding job. Check out the link to our interview.
There is high excitement and the interns are ready to start teaching tomorrow. It is going to be a good month.
Start the Heart was founded 2 years ago with a mission of saving the lives of cardiac arrest victims through hands only CPR education and training. This week we have taught our 20,000th person hands only CPR. We have had over 40 interns go through our program from a variety on college institutions. Universally, our interns have been of the highest quality and we are proud to be associated with them. Many of our interns have already gone on to do great things and the rest soon will be doing great things.
(People who have done hands only CPR and saved a persons life)
We know of 6 people who are alive today that received bystander CPR from someone trained by our program. We have saved grandparents, spouses, people in airports, co-workersand total strangers. All of the life savers say “They just started singing Stayin Alive” in their head while doing CPR. These are everyday people who acted when called upon. Overall, this foundation has been successful beyond our initial dreams.
This year Kentucky passed legislation requiring Hands-Only CPR education as a requirement for high school graduation. Our foundation was a big supporter of this progressive legislation. However, this has only increased the demand for our educational services with the local school systems. During the academic year, we concentrate our teaching efforts in area high schools. We have taught in over 40 local high schools and attempt to teach every freshman in Jefferson County and surrounding counties in Kentucky.
Our efforts need to continue because cardiac arrest remains a major killer in our community. In Louisville there are 8 times the number of cardiac arrest deaths than homicides. This year bystander CPR rate in Louisville is 15%, half of the national average. We want to change this statistic in our community.
If you want to learn more about this foundation or be apart of this foundation contact us through the website . You can donate on line also to help keep the mission alive. Our classes are free to the community only through the generous donations of our many sponsors.
Thank you to everyone that has helped to make this foundation a tremendous success.
I just came home from a bike ride. It was a great fall day and I was feeling good. After I came home, the phone rang and the caller ID was from a college friend of mine. He called to tell me that our friend John had been out cycling that day at the same time as I was. John collapsed from his bike with a cardiac arrest and did not survive. My friend said he had a massive heart attack. I see this scenario often at work, but this was one of my friends who was the same age as me. I am not impervious to the anxieties that this can cause.
John was 52. He was a 4 year varsity college soccer player back in the day and continued to exercise regularly. I saw him a year ago and he looked like he was younger than stated age. He was vigorous and full of life.
So what happened and why did it happen? What can be done to prevent this from happening to the rest of us?
Statistically, in people over age 35 with a cardiac arrest, the number one cause of sudden cardiac death is from coronary disease. It is thought that the mechanism of action that coronary disease causes sudden death relates to acute plaque rupture causing a heart attack. Most of the time that a plaque ruptures and causes a heart attack, the plaque is not a severe narrowing but a mild to moderate narrowing,<70% narrowed, that gets unstable and breaks open. If a plaque is less than 70% narrowed it usually does not cause symptoms and there is no warning for the patient. Once the integrity of the plaque is compromised by the rupture, a thrombus (clot) forms in the plaque and can shut the artery off causing a heart attack. During a heart attack, the heart muscle beyond the blockage does not receive blood or oxygen and the heart muscle starts to die. The dying or dead heart muscle can become electrically unstable. This electrical instability can lead to lethal heart rhythms that cause the cardiac arrest.
Because 70% of cardiac arrests are caused by patients having heart attacks, many patients will have symptoms in the hour prior to a cardiac arrest. Those symptoms are those of a heart attack: chest pressure, shortness of breath, nausea, sweatiness, fatigue or a sense of impending doom. Obviously, it is important not to ignore these symptoms. Sadly, in at least 30% of cardiac arrest victims their first symptom is their last symptom and they present with sudden death.
I am not sure why my friend had a cardiac arrest and died. The last time I saw him he looked fit. His weight was good and he exercised regularly. The best way to survive a cardiac arrest is to prevent it from happening. How do you do that? By avoiding the things that promote coronary disease. First, I recommend that keep your weight down; within 15% of your ideal body weight and for men a waist size less than 36 inches. Second, people should exercise everyday for at least 40 minutes. Exercise includes walking and more strenuous activities. Third, no smoking. Smoking is the single worse thing that a person can do for their overall health. When people stop smoking, this lowers their risk by almost 35% of a heart attack and we see improvements in their blood vessels almost immediately. Fourth, a high quality diet is important with lots of fruits and vegetables and less processed food. Lastly, no more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day and some days none. Alcohol is inflammatory and theoretically play a role in plaque rupture.
You can see your physician for further evaluation of blood pressure, lipids and when appropriate possibly further testing. However, there is currently no test that predicts sudden cardiac death. Trying to find the “vulnerable” plaque is one of the remaining holy grails of cardiology.
For those that “do everything right” and still suffer a cardiac arrest, I do not have an answer as to why it happens. I do recommend to all of us to live a little in the present and not the future all of the time. Don’t take life’s little pleasures for granted. Enjoy your family and friends a little more.
I am comforted that John did not suffer, as there is immediate loss of consciousness with cardiac arrest. But, he left us way too early. Rest comfortably my friend, we will miss you.
Last week we finished up our very successful summer hands only CPR season. We were blessed this summer to have 3 fabulous interns. They taught over 40 classes and 700 citizens in Louisville, KY hands only CPR. Our focus for teaching in the summer is in community centers, churches and area businesses. We also did some brief hands only CPR demonstrations at the Dirt Bowl basketball tournament and at a Louisville FC soccer game. This was truly a great teaching season that moved our total number of people taught hands only CPR at over 17,000 since we started.
This year Kentucky became the 29th state to mandate hands only CPR education for high school students prior to graduation. We went out last week and taught Jefferson County Public Schools health and physical education teachers about cardiac arrest and gave them our hands only CPR class. Because of the new state law our services have been highly sought after and we are full for the fall teaching period. We have started preparing for the upcoming teaching period with 2 teams of instructors. We are getting our new instructors ready to start this week. This is what our basement looks like in preparation. It is going to be a busy fall teaching.
The lead story in the Louisville Courier Journal today led off with a story by Darla Carter on the new law requiring CPR education for Kentucky High School students. Kentucky became the 32nd state to require this basic CPR training this year. There are now 34 states that require this training and likely all of the states will get on board shortly. It is nice to see Kentucky proactive about improving the health of our citizens.
Our organisation has been treating hands only CPR and demonstrating the proper use of an automated external defibrillator for the past 2 years. We have taught most of the freshmen high school students in 5 Kentucky counties in the last 2 years. We offer this service at no cost to the schools and usually do the education through the health and PE classes. Our instructors are often college students, nursing students and interested high school students. The program has been wildly successful and has taught over 16,000 people in the last 2 years.
Currently, we have a team of 3 college students teaching hands only CPR this summer. We are going to local businesses, community centers, churches and anywhere that people want to be educated about what to do in a cardiac arrest. We have 2 scheduled free classes, July 14 and August 11th at the office of Louisville Cardiology, in the next month that are open to the public. If you are interested in scheduling a class please contact us through our website. Remember 80% of cardiac arrests happen at home, so the person you may need to perform CPR on is likely someone that you know or love. Our classes last only take 30 minutes to complete and they are free.
Thanks to Darla Carter for her great article.
Another successful hands only CPR teaching period has come to a close as our instructors finish their college semester. Our interns were busy this spring and taught over 1400 high school students hands only CPR. They taught high school freshmen in 3 different counties in Kentucky. I want to publicly thank them for all of their efforts. Our instructors are full time college students and do the CPR education in addition to their scholastic work.
In other exciting news, we have expanded our teaching and have brought hands only CPR education to the campus of DePauw University. Start the Heart Foundation has had a strong relationship with DePauw University with over 10 former interns with our organization currently on campus. Several of our former interns got together and taught members of the DePauw panhellenic council recently. It was a high energy event enjoyed by all. Hopefully, in the future we will be able to provide a systematic training program to all members of the DePauw student body. This was an important first step. A special thanks to Anna, Clara and Alex for making this happen.
We have now been teaching hands only CPR for 2 years. Some of our stats in the first 2 years we have taught 16,604 people hands only CPR mainly in the Louisville area. We have taught hands only CPR in 7 different counties in Kentucky and Indiana and have taught in over 40 different high schools. During this time period we have had 34 college students serve as our interns and many of them have gone on to enter medical school.
We recently hired our 3 summer interns and will resume our summer teaching program at the end of June. During this session we will offer hands only CPR teaching any time, any where and any place in an effort to reach as many people as possible. If you have a group of 15 or more people and would like for us to come and teach hands only CPR for free in as little as 30 minutes then please contact us through the website.
Lastly, this year Kentucky passed a law requiring hands only CPR training prior to graduation for high school. Kentucky became the 29th state to pass this legislation in the United States. Our teaching program meets all of the requirements for this training. We have done all of our teaching through health and PE classes with freshman. If you are a principal or health/PE teacher and we have not reached out to your school, then please contact us through the website to set up training this upcoming year.