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Increase In Cardiac Deaths Prompts Crapo-Dorgan Legislation

Resolution aims to increase awareness of sudden cardiac arrest

Washington, DC - The high probability of death from sudden cardiac arrest in the U.S. has prompted Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan to introduce legislation today seeking to increase educational efforts about the affliction. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 95 percent of people stricken with sudden cardiac arrests die, including healthy athletes, infants and middle-aged Americans.

"The best hope for survival in the case of sudden cardiac arrest is to be treated immediately with a defibrillator," said Crapo, Co-Chair of the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition and a member of the Senate Finance Committee. "We must increase the awareness of the need for this life-saving treatment. The availability of defibrillators makes the difference between life and death. For patients already afflicted with heart ailments, the American Heart Association reports implanted defibrillators are 98 percent effective in protecting those at risk."

The resolution proposed by Crapo and Dorgan would designate the week of October 5, 2008, as "National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Week," and would ask the Senate to call for national awareness programs to promote treatment actions. Sudden cardiac arrest takes the lives of more than 250,000 Americans each year, according to the Heart Rhythm Society.