WASHINGTON, May 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Results from a six-month nationwide effort to educate African Americans about the risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) will be presented at a special session at Heart Rhythm 2013, the Heart Rhythm Society's 34th Annual Scientific Sessions, on May 9, 2013, in Denver. Launched in October 2012 by the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) and the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC), the "Arrest the Risk" campaign was designed to help reduce disparities in the treatment and prevention of SCA among African Americans by increasing the dialogue between patients and physicians. The results will be presented by campaign spokespersons Walter Clair, MD, MPH, FHRS, electrophysiologist, Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, and Kevin L. Thomas, MD, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Division of Cardiovascular Disease, Duke University Medical Center.
"The risk of SCA for all Americans, especially African Americans, is alarming. Educational initiatives by medical professionals, associations and community leaders are imperative and invaluable in seeking to increase awareness and change behavior with the goal of reducing the incidence of SCA," said Dr. Clair. "By sharing the initial results of the 'Arrest the Risk' campaign with our colleagues, we hope to move one step closer to saving lives and eliminating unnecessary sudden cardiac deaths in general and in the African American community in particular."
Responsible for more than 350,000 U.S. deaths each year, SCA occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. Approximately 95 percent of SCA cases result in death; however, it is proven most deadly in African Americans.
The "Arrest the Risk" initiative was designed to overcome the barriers to proper diagnosis and treatment of SCA among African Americans through increased awareness and access to educational resources. The campaign was featured in leading radio, broadcast, print and online African-American media outlets, including Essence Magazine, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, The Root, The Grio, Ebony.com, Black America Web and Jet.com. A powerful "Arrest the Risk" public service announcement was broadcast nationwide, reaching more than 65 million people to date. As a part of this initiative, HRS developed an SCA risk assessment tool, available at www.ArrestTheRisk.org, which prompts patients to ask self-reflective questions about relevant personal and family health issues, as well as start a dialogue with a physician or specialist, such as an electrophysiologist, about SCA risks.
HRS and ABC worked with healthcare providers and African American community leaders in 10 cities with at-risk populations including Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Jackson, Miss.; Nashville, Tenn.; Detroit; New Orleans and Oakland, Calif., to spotlight the "Arrest the Risk" campaign at the local level. Local ABC cardiologists hosted talks at churches, community centers, and health fairs, delivering the SCA-awareness prevention tips, answering personal heart-health questions, and providing actionable follow-up materials to nearly 1,500 at-risk individuals to date.
"We know the importance of patients asking their doctors about their SCA risk factors and sharing their family heart-health history; however, we know it's just as important to educate physicians so that they are able to accurately identify at-risk patients and make the necessary referrals," said Dr. Thomas. "By sharing the results of this campaign with our colleagues at Heart Rhythm 2013, we hope to further enlighten the healthcare community about the disparities that exist in the prevention and treatment of SCA and discuss ways that we can address those inequities."
A study conducted by HRS with Ipsos Healthcare and released at the campaign's launch, found that African Americans are significantly less familiar with sudden cardiac arrest, with only 18 percent able to correctly identify the condition, compared with 24 percent of the general population. More than sixty percent of African Americans who reported experiencing heart disease symptoms report not going to the doctor as a result. In addition, ninety percent of African Americans say their doctor has not talked to them about their risk for SCA. In addition, though treatment guidelines recommend implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) as the standard of care for patients at risk for SCA, studies show that the use of these devices and other innovative cardiovascular technologies are less common among African Americans. As a result, a large percentage of high-risk patients are not receiving these treatments, leading to a greater likelihood of death.
About Heart Rhythm 2013:
Heart Rhythm 2013 is the most comprehensive educational program for heart rhythm professionals, featuring more than 8,000 attendees, 250 educational sections and more than 130 exhibitors showcasing innovative products and services. The Heart Rhythm Society's Annual Scientific Sessions have become the must-attend event of the year, allowing the exchange of new vital ideas and information among colleagues from every corner of the globe.
About the Heart Rhythm Society
The Heart Rhythm Society is the international leader in science, education and advocacy for cardiac arrhythmia professionals and patients, and the primary information resource on heart rhythm disorders. Its mission is to improve the care of patients by promoting research, education and optimal health care policies and standards. Incorporated in 1979 and based in Washington, DC, it has a membership of more than 5,800 heart rhythm professionals in more than 72 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.HRSonline.org, voted 2012's "Best in Class" website for a nonprofit by the Interactive Media Council.
About the Association of Black Cardiologists
Founded in 1974, the Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc. (ABC) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to champion the elimination of cardiovascular disease disparities among minorities through education, research and advocacy. The ABC is comprised of an international membership of 2,500 medical professionals, community health advocates, corporations and institutions that fund innovative research, promote stronger public policies and provide lifesaving tools to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases. To learn more or to get involved, visit www.abcardio.org.
About the Survey
In August 2012, the Heart Rhythm Society worked with Ipsos Healthcare to conduct a 20-minute online survey of more than 1,500 adult consumers and 300 physicians in the U.S. A representative sample of Caucasian, African American and Hispanic consumers were surveyed, as well as a sample of three types of physicians– primary care physicians (PCPs) including those in general practice, family practice and internal medicine; cardiologists; and electrophysiologists (EPs), who are cardiac arrhythmia specialists. The survey aimed to help HRS identify current awareness levels and perceptions of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
Heart Rhythm Society
SOURCE Heart Rhythm Society