The Christ Hospital’s Project Heart ReStart, in collaboration with the Ohio Casualty Foundation and the Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation, has donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) to the Blanchester Intermediate School in Blanchester and to the Royal Redeemer Lutheran Church and School in Liberty Township. An AED is about the size of a laptop computer and, when used quickly and in conjunction with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), can deliver a life-saving shock to cardiac arrest victims. An AED is easy to use—simply turn the device on and follow the voice instructions from the device.
Heart disease, including emergencies such as cardiac arrest, is the leading cause of death in the Greater Cincinnati region. Cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heart function and strikes with little or no warning, leaving the victim unconscious and without a heartbeat. Regionally, there are approximately 1,350 sudden cardiac arrest cases reported annually, and overall survival is about seven percent.
Blanchester Intermediate School recently enrolled a student with a specific heart condition known to cause sudden cardiac arrest frequently. Shiloh Myers, 10, was diagnosed with prolonged QT syndrome, a relatively rare but extremely dangerous heart condition. Although she takes medication for her condition, the presence of an AED in her school and the training provided by Project Heart ReStart will allow teachers and staff to help her in an emergency.
June 1-7 is National CPR and AED Awareness Week. There are approximately 300,000 cardiac arrest incidents reported in the United States every year. On average, about one-third (about 100,000) of the victims receive bystander CPR. Nearly all the 20-25,000 people who survive cardiac arrest annually come from the one-third who receive bystander CPR; almost none of the other 200,000 survive. Using an AED on a victim who is receiving bystander CPR is known to dramatically improve chances of survival, double or more over CPR alone when used quickly.
The Christ Hospital launched Project Heart ReStart in 2006 and has placed 158 AEDs throughout Greater Cincinnati. Funding for the program is largely through the generosity of benefactors such as the Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation and the Ohio Casualty Foundation. Eligible recipients are non-profit organizations where people gather. Recipients also receive training and a wall cabinet for their AED. Project Heart ReStart currently has a waiting list of interested AED recipients.