FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 8, 2011
Contacts: Ray Zaccaro/Erin Bzymek (202) 225-4671
Pallone Introduces Bill to Combat Silent Killer in Young People, Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Washington, DC — Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. Thursday introduced the Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Risk Assessment, and Training in the Schools (HEARTs) Act, legislation to combat the leading cause of death on school property, Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Cardiomyopathy, one of the causes of SCA, is frequently misdiagnosed and only five percent of those affected survive it. Pallone’s bill aims to raise awareness where children are most often - in school.
The bill mandates raising awareness about SCA in schools and childcare centers and requires better prevention measures that will save young people’s lives. It requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the Centers for Disease Control as well as patient advocacy and health professional organizations to develop and distribute materials about SCA. Also, it requires guidelines regarding the placement of life-saving automated external defibrillators in schools and information on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training.
“Too often we hear about heartbreaking cases in the news where otherwise healthy young people die very suddenly from what has been a silent killer,” said Pallone. “It’s my hope that this legislation would prevent many of those deaths, but we cannot prevent SCA without raising awareness about its causes.”
In the US there are 600,000 people with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and there are nearly one million with other conditions that can cause SCA in young people.
In 2010, two student athletes in New Jersey died from SCA eight months apart.
"The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association is happy to see HEARTS, a national initiative, introduced to raise awareness and ensure children and families have the opportunity to seek treatment for HCM and other causes of SCA in the young. If we save one person from suffering a cardiac arrest and the aftermath, this legislation would pay for itself in a year,” said Lisa Salberg, Founder and CEO, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one student athlete falls victim to SCA every three to four days. These numbers are significant, but it’s important to note that all young people are affected by SCA and not just student athletes.”
“Children with cardiomyopathy are not always diagnosed and the consequences can be devastating," commented Lisa Yue, president and founder of the Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation. "By providing educational materials on cardiomyopathy to families and schools, this legislation has the potential to save the lives of many children at risk of sudden cardiac death."