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Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Saving More Lives in MN

Image: Rochester has the best sudden cardiac arrest survival rates in the nation and legislation has created two new programs aimed to help raise the rates statewide. Photo courtesy American Heart Association of Minnesota.
Image: Rochester has the best sudden cardiac arrest survival rates in the nation and legislation has created two new programs aimed to help raise the rates statewide. Photo courtesy American Heart Association of Minnesota.
June 2, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. – As Minnesota recognizes CPR and AED Awareness Week, the state is on the path to saving more lives in cases of sudden cardiac arrest.

Lawmakers this session passed a bill to set up a registry of public automated external defibrillators (AED) to alert their owners when maintenance is needed.

State Rep. Tina Liebling sponsored the legislation in the House after hearing how more and more of the devices were non-functional.

"If you're going to have sudden cardiac arrest somewhere out in public, that's bad enough,” she points out. “But to have one of these little machines there and have it not work when you need it would be really terrible."

According to the American Heart Association, the chances that a cardiac arrest victim will survive can double or triple when a bystander assists with an AED, or by applying cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

In Minnesota, heart disease is the second-leading cause of death.

In addition to the AED registry, which is set to become a national model, another part of the effort to improve outcomes and save lives is the CPR in Schools program. It's set to begin this fall.

State Sen. Carla Nelson says it requires all high school students in the state to take one 30-minute CPR class before graduation.

"You know, it's hands-only CPR, making sure all of our students are trained,” she explains. “In fact, we know bystander CPR is extremely effective and just one short, 30-minute training session lends to results of being able to perform hands-only CPR anytime."

Nelson authored both the CPR in Schools and the AED bills in the Senate. She and Liebling are both from Rochester, which has the best sudden cardiac arrest survival rates in the nation.





John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN