Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivors & Heroes Gather for National Celebration

Oct 06, 2010, 10:48 ET from Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association

Survivors, Rescuers Travel From Across the Country to Celebrate during SCA Awareness Month

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A nationwide gathering of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) survivors, emergency responders and civilian rescuers will mark SCA Awareness Month with a "Survivors & Heroes Celebration" on Friday, October 8 at 6:00 p.m. at the Marriott City Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), the event is part of three-day program that will make up the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association's (SCAA) Annual Meeting.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a sudden, abrupt loss of heart function and can impact individuals at any age and even those who otherwise appear healthy. SCA kills nearly 300,000 Americans each year – more than lung cancer, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined – and has a survival rate of less than 8 percent. Of the small number who survives SCA, nearly all do so because they received immediate assistance in the form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the shock of an automated external defibrillator (AED) or an implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to restore the heart's natural rhythm.  

Local SCA survivors Jay Feuer and Mike Epitropoulos will be joined by over 20 survivors from across the country all celebrating their "re-birthdays." The ceremony also honors the lifesaving efforts of emergency responders and civilian rescuers and features a memorial color-guard presentation and speech by Pennsylvania EMS Director Joe Schmider.

"I've been certified in CPR since the late '70s, but for the most part didn't have any personal experience with it. Now, it's important for me to let others know that CPR and AEDs really do work, that they truly save lives and that anyone can save somebody's life," said Jay Feuer, a dentist who experienced SCA in June while at the gym. Fortunately, a nearby nurse came to his aid, as did an off-duty paramedic who administered shocks from an AED.

The electrical disruption of SCA is different from a heart attack which is caused by a blocked blood vessel leading to loss of blood supply to a portion of the heart muscle. It most often occurs without warning. More than one million Americans identified as "at-risk" are protected from SCA by a stopwatch-sized ICD that delivers a life-saving shock. Unfortunately, the condition remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. because of undiagnosed or untreated heart disease and other conditions.

"We are hosting this event to celebrate those who have survived SCA and raise awareness about SCA during SCA Awareness Month," said Robert Schriever, Chairman of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. "Many people confuse SCA with a heart attack, and we want to educate the general public about SCA risk factors and responses so that they can help someone experiencing cardiac arrest. Education isn't enough, however, and it's just as important that we acknowledge the often thankless efforts of our emergency responders who come to the aid of strangers in a time of most need."

About the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association

SCAA is the nation's largest non-profit advocacy organization exclusively dedicated to SCA awareness and prevention. Its membership is comprised of SCA survivors, medical professionals, patient advocates, emergency responders, educators and legislators dedicated to promoting solutions to prevent sudden cardiac death through increased awareness, immediate bystander action, public access to defibrillation (PAD) and access to therapies. For more information, please visit

About the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

UPMC is an $8 billion integrated global health enterprise headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and one of the leading nonprofit health systems in the United States. As western Pennsylvania's largest employer, with almost 50,000 employees, UPMC is transforming the economy of the region into one based on medicine, research and technology. By integrating 20 hospitals, 400 doctors' offices and outpatient sites, long-term care facilities and a major health insurance services division, and in collaboration with its academic partner, the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC has advanced the quality and efficiency of health care and developed internationally renowned programs in transplantation, cancer, neurosurgery, psychiatry, orthopaedics, and sports medicine, among others. For more information, visit

SOURCE Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association