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Automatic External Defibrillators Donated to Baltimore City Middle Schools

Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Israel and Mollie Myers Foundation continue their longstanding tradition of serving and supporting Baltimore by donating lifesaving automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) to 10 Baltimore City middle schools.

These portable devices can save the lives of students or staff experiencing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) by delivering a specialized shock to an arrhythmic heart in order to restore a normal and viable pumping action. A recent study showed that 64 percent of SCA victims in US high schools equipped with AEDs survived to hospital discharge. These devices will be available during the school day as well as during sporting events.

The September 24, 2013 donation at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School resulted from a collaboration between cardiologist Theodore Abraham, M.D., director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center of Excellence at Johns Hopkins and Jon Myers, a trustee of the Israel and Mollie Myers Foundation and a member of the Cardiovascular Advisory Board at Johns Hopkins. The foundation donated $10,000 to pay for the AEDs.

Read the full press release.

The Need for AEDs: FAQs About Sudden Cardiac Arrest

How Common Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Young People?

Each year 3,000 young people die from sudden cardiac arrest.  About 75 percent of all sudden cardiac arrest cases in schools occur in relation to a sporting event or practice, making access to AEDs both in and after school events a key safety concern. The American Heart Association estimates that 40,000 lives could be saved in the United States each year with widespread access to defibrillators.

Sudden Cardiac Death Among Athletes

Theodore Abraham, M.D. discusses the importance of screening for HCM in young people, especially athletes.

What Causes Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Young People?

One of the most common causes of sudden cardiac death among young people is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), an inherited condition that causes thickening of the heart muscle that impedes blood flow and can cause heart rhythm problems.  Unless properly screened for, this ailment is virtually undetectable until too late. Early screening and prevention is crucial for controlling this condition. One in 500 people have HCM and this condition is the number one cause of sudden death in people under the age of 30.

Johns Hopkins Medicine Heart Screening in Athletes

Theodore Abraham, M.D. discusses the Heart Hype Program’s unique and effective diagnostic methodology.

Will an Automatic External Defibrillator Always Save Someone Experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Unfortunately, no. While HCM is the most common causes of sudden cardiac death among young people, it can cause many different types of abnormal heart rhythms or force the heart to stop beating entirely. AEDs are effective for correcting two types of heart arrhythmias: ventricular fibrillation (most common) and ventricular tachycardia.

What Do You Do if You Suspect Someone Is Experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Always call 911 in an emergency if experiencing chest pain. The following symptoms are associated with (HCM):

•    Shortness of breath, especially during exercise or exertion
•    Chest pain, especially during exercise or exertion
•    Fainting, especially during exercise or exertion
•    Dizziness
•    Fatigue
•    Heart palpitations — the sensation of rapid, fluttering or pounding heartbeats

Learn About the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center of Excellence and the Heart Hype Program

The Johns Hopkins Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center of Excellence not only provides long-term care for patients with HCM but also offers screening services such as Heart Hype, an annual program that diagnoses fatal heart conditions in student athletes. 

Watch Theodore Abraham, M.D.'s webinar: Sudden Cardiac Death – The Silent Killer in Young Athletes: what it is and why young athletes should be screened

If you would like to request an appointment to meet with one of our experts, please call 443-997-0270.


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