LVAD patient gives extra thanks this year

Cara Reischel feels blessed to be able to watch her daughter grow up

Cara Family Photo blog

Cara Reischel is giving extra thanks this holiday season … for her husband, Joel, daughter, Cora, and her improved health due to a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) that was implanted in February at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

Although she admits that being an LVAD patient and getting accustomed to her new device hasn’t always been easy, Cara is a firm believer in taking one day at a time and being thankful for all that life has to offer, especially time with Joel and 11-year-old Cora.

As a baby, Cara was diagnosed with a hole in her heart, which doctors monitored closely. It wasn’t until Cara suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) at age 15 that doctors changed her diagnosis to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is a congenital heart muscle disease that can affect people of any age and is a common cause of SCA in young people. Approximately one in 500 to 1,000 young people are diagnosed with the condition. Continue reading

CPR and AED: Save a life with basic knowledge

Cardiac events cause the deaths of more than 350,000 people each year

CPR hands on dummy

Basic knowledge of CPR and AED procedures can help save a life.

CPR and access to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) — portable devices that measure the heart’s activity and produce a mild shock to help restore proper rhythm after a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) — can saves lives.

Knowing how to perform CPR and use an AED could save the life of a loved one.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), approximately 92 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital, but statistics prove that if more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved. Immediate CPR can double, or even triple, a victim’s chance of survival.

Niles Mayrand, director of operations at the U-M Clinical Simulation Center, Dr. James Cooke, medical director of the U-M Clinical Simulation Center, and Debra Yake, U-M’s AHA Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) & Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course coordinator and an AHA Basic Life Support (BLS) instructor with Livingston County EMS, are all pushing for those increased survival rates in both in-hospital and the out-of-hospital communities. All have a passion for raising CPR awareness and want everyone to know how to perform high quality CPR and use an AED.
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Is your school prepared for a cardiac emergency?

Project ADAMSudden cardiac death claims the lives of more than 300 Michigan children and young adults (between the ages of 1 and 39 years) annually.

When you think about where we could have the most potential to intervene in a way that could save lives, the schools where our children spend so many waking hours come to mind as an excellent place to start.

What can we do to make a difference?

You’ve probably already heard about the push to place AEDs (automated external defibrillators) in schools.  Defibrillation with a device such as an AED provides an electrical shock to re-establish the heart’s normal rhythm and is the only known treatment for ventricular fibrillation. Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation with an AED within the first three to five minutes after collapse, followed by advanced care, can result in a greater than 50 percent survival rate in these situations.  The survival rate drops 10 percent with each minute of delayed defibrillation.

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Sudden cardiac arrest: Is your student athlete at risk?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy accounts for 40 percent of SCA cases

image - SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest) and student athletes

Ryan Cliff, who experienced sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) during his first time as a starter in his high school soccer game.

The beginning of another school year means the beginning of school sports including football, soccer, cross country and swimming. All too often, school sports result in injuries to athletes — and, in some cases, incidents of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Although SCA in athletes makes the headlines, it’s important to know that SCA can happen to anyone — including a seemingly healthy child.

Ryan Cliff was one of those children. His is a story of survival as he recovered from SCA with the help of University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital doctors. He and his parents share their difficult and emotional experience in Ryan’s video story about his experience of SCA while playing soccer.

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