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Improving Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates in Hawaii

 

Guest Blogger: Don Weisman, Government Relations Director

Last week, while celebrating CPR Awareness Week, I thought about one of the volunteers I have met who survived cardiac arrest because someone administered CPR.  Dr. Tanabe was healthy and active, when one day on a run he went into sudden cardiac arrest. Luckily someone nearby saw him and administered CPR, helping to save his life.


Sudden cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function in a person who may, or may not, have diagnosed heart disease. It is indeed “sudden,” occurring instantly or shortly after symptoms appear. In Hawaii, only 5-8 percent of cardiac arrest victims survive. That statistic could be greatly improved if more people knew how to perform CPR. That is why American Heart Association volunteers are working with the Department of Education (DOE) to add CPR training to high school health classes.

 
The DOE has committed to purchase CPR manikins and training materials, and AHA volunteers are helping to train DOE health class instructors to train students. We hope next to work with the DOE and Board of Education leaders to amend school policy in order to make CPR a required lesson in health classes. This would ensure all future graduating high school students will receive CPR training. Over time this could translate to many more lives saved in Hawaii.

If you are interested in joining our effort, please contact me (don.weisman@heart.org.)

 

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