May 14, 2007 — More than 25 leading heart advocacy groups have joined to form the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Coalition – the very first coalition dedicated to advancing increased research, awareness and educational efforts to address the nation’s number one cardiovascular killer. The Coalition, announced as part of Heart Rhythm 2007, the Society’s 28th Annual Scientific Sessions, will urge Congress and the federal agencies involved in national health policies and programs, to devote more resources to greater public awareness of SCA, research and access to life-saving therapies.
“Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a leading cause of death in this country, taking the lives of more than 250,000 people each year – more than breast cancer, lung cancer, stroke or AIDS,” said Dr. Dwight Reynolds, president of the Heart Rhythm Society, one of the founding members of the SCA Coalition. “It occurs abruptly and without warning, and two-thirds of SCA deaths occur without any prior indications of heart disease. But the truth is that SCA is not always a random event – yet even those of us in the medical community do not always have the tools to properly identify those at risk and prevent attacks.”
To address the public health crisis, the SCA Coalition is made up of advocates from across the spectrum — from physicians and allied health professionals, to patients and caregivers, to first responders and athletic trainers. These groups come together under the Coalition to use their collective strength as a national voice to stop sudden cardiac arrest.
Joined by SCA Coalition members and a local survivor of SCA, Dr. Reynolds spoke of the life-saving possibilities of the Coalition’s work. “As with any public health crisis, the U.S. government and its depth of medical resources offers the best hope for arming the medical community with the research and knowledge it needs, and reaching the American public to provide a level of awareness that can make a difference. The government has already made great strides in research, awareness, and treatment advances for many of our nation’s major health threats – like breast cancer, lung cancer, stroke and AIDS. But now with the passion and hard work of the SCA Coalition, we can focus the government’s attention and significant resources on a killer that takes more lives each year than any of those diseases.”
Over the next year, the SCA Coalition will encourage the introduction and passage of an Omnibus bill that, if passed, will provide the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with the resources and the imperative to develop and implement a comprehensive education and research program for SCA. This will include appropriations for medical screening and tracking studies, as well as public awareness and education campaigns. The bill will also include a resolution to create a National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Week, to set aside time each year to focus national public attention on this deadly killer.