Bringing attention to cardiac arrest cases in young people and athletes

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A professional hockey player’s nationally televised cardiac arrest episode is sparking a larger conversation about heart health, especially in young people.

“Cardiac arrest is more common in people who have pre-existing heart conditions so someone who’s had a heart attack before but rarely can it happen to people with normal healthy hearts,” said Dr. John Kaminski, a cardiologist from SwedishAmerican.

However, that isn’t always the case. Most recently St. Louis Blues player Jay Boumeester suffered a cardiac episode while sitting on the bench at a game. Cardiac arrest is caused by an electrical disturbance in the heart which causes it to beat rapidly, making it difficult for the muscle to pump blood. This leads to a drop in blood pressure which can make you pass or even die.

“We’ve been an active partner in talking about hands-only chest compression-only CPR that’s when you have to put your hands on the correct spots on the chest and push hard and push fast at a rate of 100 to 120 a minute and that will double or triple their chances of survival,” said Brian Park, the EMS Coordinator for the Rockford Fire Department.

No matter where you are it’s important to be prepared in case of any emergency.

“Anyone who collapses during a sporting event people should check a pulse, initiate CPR as soon as possible, call 911 and have someone go to see if there’s a defibrillator or an AED nearby,” Dr. Kaminski said.

Taking those initial steps can save a life and being able to locate these defibrillators can increase survival rate. Even after completing these steps it’s always recommended to call 9-1-1 and not disregard someone who passes out. Dr Kaminski recommends people to play close attention to that and consult with their physicians or cardiologists.

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