hen an individual goes into cardiac arrest, prompt and effective bystander CPR may double or triple their chance of survival. However, 70 percent of Americans report feeling “helpless to act” during an emergency because they do not know how to perform CPR. The West Virginia Chapter of the ACC this year helped pass legislation mandating CPR and AED training as a high school graduation requirement. Read More >>>
Several chapters have also made this issue a priority, including Ohio and Connecticut where Laxmi S. Mehta, MD, FACC, governor of the Ohio Chapter, and Gilead I. Lancaster, MD, FACC, governor of the Connecticut Chapter, have testified and remain vocal advocates in their respective states.
In recent testimony, Mehta emphasized the impact that the lack of timely and effective CPR has on Americans. “Every year nearly 424,000 people in the U.S. suffer out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest and only 10.4 percent survive, making it one of the leading causes of death in the country,” she said. “Five minutes makes the difference in survival.” She cites the support of the cardiovascular community as a key component in helping to find cost-effective ways of implementing this mandatory graduation requirement. “We are ready to help implement [this legislation] and help put thousands of potential lifesavers into the community each year,” she said. While there has not been a decision in Ohio on this legislation, the Ohio Chapter continues to actively support the effort to make CPR training a graduation requirement.
In early October, Charles I. Berul, MD, FACC, the ACC’s Board of Governors representative for Washington, DC, testified during a DC City Council hearing on a bill requiring the placement of AEDs and training personnel in all schools in the city. According to Berul, “This bill will save lives! However, AED training should not be limited to coaches and school nurses. Equipping these students with vital AED and CPR skills would put thousands of potential lifesavers in the community each year.”
The ACC has been a longtime supporter of AED and CPR training requirements for high school students. Furthering this effort, ACC staff has worked with the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association to pass a policy resolution recommending that students are trained in CPR and AED before graduating from high school. As of October, the total number of states with similar legislation is 26, with New York and North Dakota being the latest states to mandate CPR training as a high school graduation requirement.