It’s time for a new approach to saving lives

Each year, an estimated 325,000 Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest – more than car crashes, firearms, house fires, AIDS, and breast, prostate and colorectal cancer combined. What’s more, this top killer can strike anyone, at any age, even without warning.

Take Heart America brings doctors, nurses, paramedics, community leaders and people like you together in a new program designed to dramatically increase the number of people who survive.

Take Heart America was founded by a network of visionaries who recognized that a coordinated, comprehensive approach to resuscitation therapies would substantially increase sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) survival rates beyond the benefits achieved with individual therapies alone. The initial results from St. Cloud MN and Anoka MN have been remarkably successful.

Building community awareness is paramount to the Take Heart America strategy for saving lives. Teaching CPR and encouraging those who have been trained to act when necessary can significantly increase an SCA victim’s chance of survival. THA’s strategy to deploy automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in residential communities and public places along with improving the resuscitation techniques of professional rescuers will also increase the chances for the victim to survive and resume a productive life. THA strategies involve working with hospitals to develop clear procedures for ensuring optimal hospital treatment and post-resuscitation care for each SCA survivor.



The key aspects of the Take Heart Initiative are shown on this diagram.

Training in Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) will be conducted for targeted segments of the lay public, such as families of high-risk patients, high school and college students, businesses, and faith communities. AEDs will be strategically placed in facilities with high public access and in first responder vehicles. Public awareness and education campaigns will encourage citizens to act quickly when an arrest occurs.

All first responders will receive CPR training according to the latest American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines. The Emergency Medical Services Basic Life Support (EMS BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) sectors will be trained in the new AHA CPR guidelines as well, along with an emphasis on performing high-quality CPR. Quality assurance methods and practices will be employed to maintain quality and measure improvements. An impedance threshold device called the ResQPOD will be used to double circulation during CPR. A new automated CPR device, called the LUCAS device, is being deployed by ALS in Anoka County and will soon be deployed in central Minnesota. Intra-osseous drug delivery will be used in patients when an IV cannot be started.

Transport to hospitals able to offer the resuscitated patient the best in post-resuscitation care is mandated. Hospitals will provide, as indicated, induced therapeutic hypothermia for unconscious survivors, ‘round the clock cardiac catheterization or thrombolytics and automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) as needed. Furthermore, a complete cardiac electrophysiological evaluation will be conducted.

Providing a coordinated, rapid continuum of care that offers best practices at points along the chain of survival will result in the best outcomes for our citizens.

To measure the project’s effect, the rate of survival to hospital discharge in the year prior to implementing these practices are compared to the rate of survival to hospital discharge in the first two years following implementation of the project.


THA handout