Dr. Victoria Vetter from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Available to Discuss New Pennsylvania Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act
PHILADELPHIA, May 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act, establishing standards for preventing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and death in student athletes. It also requires the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Department of Education to develop guidelines and educational materials, and to implement annual screenings for athletes. Coaches, athletic trainers and sports officials now must be trained about SCA and players must be removed by the coach from active participation if they show any signs or symptoms. The new law also requires medical clearance before the athlete can return to the field, and disciplines coaches with suspension for the season or expulsion from coaching for repetitive violations.
In SCA, the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, usually due to ventricular fibrillation, an irregular and rapid quivering of the pumping chambers of the heart. Although it happens rarely, children who appear healthy and physically fit may collapse from cardiac arrest without warning.
Victoria Vetter, M.D., M.P.H., is a pediatric cardiologist and medical director of Youth Heart Watch at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Youth Heart Watch is dedicated to ensuring access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and screening for underlying heart conditions. Dr. Vetter is a nationally recognized leader in pediatric electrophysiology.
Dr. Vetter has a study underway screening healthy children for underlying conditions that could cause SCA. She recently published a pilot study in healthy children and adolescents that showed that it is feasible to screen for undiagnosed heart conditions that increase the risk of SCA. The study also found that adding a 10-minute electrocardiogram to a history and physical examination identified unsuspected cases of potentially serious heart conditions. She also has another study underway to look at novel ways of teaching CPR and AED use to high school students.
Youth Heart Watch aims to have an AED placed in every school in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware and to provide training and education for students and staff. The hope is that lives will be saved both through the use of AEDs and through increased awareness of the warning signs that precede SCA and the risk factors for this condition.
Contact: Joey McCool Ryan
SOURCE The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia