Jackie Ross

According to the American Heart Association, sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a quick, unexpected death caused by a change in heart rhythm (sudden cardiac arrest). It is the largest cause of natural death in the U.S., resulting in about 325,000 adult deaths each year. SCD is responsible for half of all heart disease deaths.

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the electrical system to the heart malfunctions and suddenly becomes very irregular. The heart beats dangerously fast. The ventricles may flutter or quiver (ventricular fibrillation), causing a decrease in blood flow to the body. In the first few minutes, the greatest concern is that blood flow to the brain will be reduced so drastically that a person will lose consciousness. Death follows unless emergency treatment is started immediately.

Victims of cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting result in less than a 10 percent survival rate.

Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately and early defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator (AED) is the only way to restore the victim’s heart rhythm to normal and can more than double a victim’s chance of survival. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation the chances of survival decrease by 7 to 10 percent. EMS may be several minutes from the scene in a rural setting delaying treatment.

Statistics show us that there are not enough AEDs and people trained in using them to perform CPR and provide this life-saving treatment, especially in rural areas. The lack of training results in lost opportunities to save more lives. 

Communities with comprehensive AED programs that include CPR and AED training for rescuers have achieved a survival rate of nearly 40 percent for cardiac arrest victims. 

Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville has joined with Eagle Radio, local EMS and county officials to place AED units in rural churches, community centers, grocery stores, diners and other areas where community members gather.  

Ashleigh Waltz, a Northwest Missouri State University Senior in the Allied Health Services Program, has been working as an intern in the Community Health Department at Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville and has been instrumental in researching, organizing and coordinating the development of this project. Her main goal is to help save lives and properly equip rural communities to do so, while also connecting the college, community and hospital through education and awareness.

You can get more information about this project by attending the Lunch and Learn Ashleigh will be presenting on Friday 7/12. The class is at the Maryville Community Center from noon to 1:00 p.m. with lunch provided. If you are interested in learning to operate an AED and perform CPR, we will be available to teach you at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday, July 13, from 7 AM to noon. Stop by and learn to save a life. 

If you are interested in contributing to the project or to reserve a spot at the Lunch and Learn, contact me at 660-562-7945 or  by email at Jacqueline.ross@mymlc.com.

Jackie Ross, RN, BSN Community Health Liaison Mosaic Medical Center, Maryville