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What’s the Price of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Julie Copeland

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13% of all workplace fatalities result from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)Cardiac Arrest in the Workplace

According the American Heart Association, 400,000 to 460,000 die each year (1,306 each day) of cardiac arrest, and 13 percent of these deaths are in the workplace.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) happens when heart function ceases abruptly and without any warning.  When this occurs the heart is no longer able to pump blood to the rest of the body, and death will occur without intervention. 

Cardiac arrest costs Americans $2.2 billion in direct hospital costs; the indirect costs to the family and employer are multiples of this. These deaths cost the workplace in insurance premiums, lost productivity, and other direct and indirect costs. In studies conducted by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a death costs the employer 175 percent of that worker's annual salary, just for replacement.

While we all have the best intentions, calling 911 and waiting for the arrival of emergency medical help results in only 5-7% survival.  Studies have shown that with immediate defibrillation the survival rate is increased to 60% one year after sudden cardiac arrest.

What employers can do:

CREATE awareness in the workplace of the following SCA risk factors;

  • History of early heart disease, heart attack, or cardiac death in the family;
  • Unexplained fainting or near fainting after palpitations;
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting with exertion during heavy activity or lifting;
  • Heart failure or heart attack;
  • Weak heart muscle or a “low cardiac Ejection Fraction (EF)” – EF is the percentage of blood that is pumped out of the pumping chamber during each heartbeat.  Low is less then 40 percent;
  • Other cardiac risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking and high cholesterol

PREPARE: Equip your workplace with accessible Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs).  Defibrillation within three minutes lifts the chance of SCA victim’s survival to more than 70 percent. 

TRAIN your employees in both CPR and in the use of your AEDs.

CALL 911 in the event of an emergency, so the professionals can pick up where your workers leave off.

Experts believe that 100,000 lives could be saved each year if automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were widely used. Contact your Arbill representative for information about Emergency Response processes and products.  Subscribe to our Safety Blog for continuous safety tips and be sure to visit Arbill.com for more information on how to build a culture of safety within your organization.

Topics: Arbill, culture of safety, defibrillator, cardiac arrest in the workplace

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