Heart Rhythm Society Kicks Off ?Cardiac Arrhythmia Awareness Month? in Massachusetts

Campaign to Raise Public Awareness about Serious Heart Rhythm Disorders, including Atrial Fibrillation and Sudden Cardiac Arrest

BOSTON & WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 30, 2012 - Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has proclaimed May to be Cardiac Arrhythmia Awareness Month, calling attention to the need for greater public awareness throughout the Commonwealth about two serious heart rhythm conditions, atrial fibrillation (also known as AF or AFib) and sudden cardiac arrest (also known as SCA). To support consumer education about these potentially life-threatening disease states, the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) has launched a Boston Citywide Awareness Campaign to increase knowledge about symptoms, warning signs and available treatment options. As part of its initiative, HRS will host a mobile education event at Boston City Hall Plaza on May 9, which is designated Cardiac Arrhythmia Awareness Day in the city of Boston.

         
What:

 

      The Heart Rhythm Society—a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science, education and advocacy for cardiac arrhythmia professionals and patients—is sponsoring a free patient education event in partnership with leading local physicians and allied health professionals.

 

         
        The public is invited to board a mobile education unit to learn about the signs, symptoms and treatment options for AFib, which affects more than two million people, and SCA, which claims more than 250,000 deaths each year. This one-of-a-kind event will offer attendees an opportunity to learn more about the heart rhythm disorders, AFib and SCA, and sit down, one-on-one, with medical professionals for free cardiovascular risk assessments. In addition, the event will arm visitors with information—including simple ways to monitor their heart rhythm at home—that can close the gap between early detection and the life-threatening consequences that ensue if these conditions are left untreated.

 

         
Where:

 

      Boston City Hall Plaza

 

        Located at the intersection of Cambridge, Court, Congress and Sudbury Streets
        Accessible by the Government Center T stop
         
When:

 

      Wednesday, May 9, 2012
        9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT

 

         
Why:

 

      More deaths occur each year as a result of SCA than breast cancer, lung cancer or AIDS. However, according to a recent HRS survey, more than 65 percent of Americans not only underestimate the seriousness of SCA, but also believe SCA is a type of heart attack. In addition, despite affecting more than two million people in the United States, only 50 percent of Americans recognize AFib as a type of heart rhythm disorder. These findings point to a critical need for increased consumer education and awareness of these serious heart rhythm conditions.
         
“Originally founded in Boston, HRS is committed to providing residents in and around the city with education and tools critical to maintaining heart health,” said Bruce L. Wilkoff, M.D., FHRS, president of the Heart Rhythm Society. “Specifically, our research shows that there is a widespread lack of understanding about sudden cardiac arrest and atrial fibrillation, which can lead people to overlook or miss warning signs while the conditions are still treatable. The citywide awareness campaign aims to make Boston a shining example of how awareness and education not only can improve quality of life, but also save lives.”

“Heart rhythm conditions affect millions of Americans every day and awareness is the first, and most important, step in ensuring that patients receive the treatment they need to lead long and healthy lives,” said John Smith, M.D. Ph.D., senior vice president for Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. “We are proud to support HRS in its efforts to empower Bostonians during Cardiac Arrhythmia Awareness Month.”

The HRS Boston Citywide Awareness Campaign is made possible by contributions from partners including: Janssen Pharmaceuticals, ZOLL Medical Corporation, eCardio Diagnostics, GE, Medtronic and Boehringer Ingelheim.

The Heart Rhythm Society's 33rd Annual Scientific Sessions, which will be held May 9-12 in Boston, Mass., will showcase the latest science, discovery and innovation essential to delivering quality care for patients.

About Sudden Cardiac Arrest

SCA occurs when the heart stops beating, abruptly and without warning. Unlike a heart attack, which occurs when a blockage in a blood vessel interrupts the flow of blood to the heart (in short, a “plumbing problem”), SCA is the result of an “electrical system” malfunction. If the heartbeat is not restored with an electrical shock immediately, no blood gets to the brain and death follows within minutes. Death from cardiac arrest is called sudden cardiac death (SCD) and accounts for about half of all heart disease deaths in the United States. For more information about SCA, symptoms, risk factors, prevention and treatment, check out the SCA Patient Education Video or visit http://www.hrsonline.org/PatientInfo/HeartRhythmDisorders/SCA/index.cfm.

About Atrial Fibrillation

AFib is the most prevalent type of irregular heartbeat and impacts approximately 2.3 million people in the United States. AFib can also increase the risk of stroke fivefold and is estimated to be responsible for 88,000 deaths and $16 billion in additional costs to the U.S. healthcare system. The condition occurs when the electrical impulses in the atria (upper chambers of the heart) become erratic, replacing the normal rhythm. This causes the atria to quiver instead of beat, leading to poor blood flow and loss of synchrony between the chambers. AFib is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat, sometimes faster than 200 times per minute, and while the condition is not in and of itself dangerous, if left untreated, the side effects potentially can be life threatening. In addition, the condition can severely depreciate an individual's quality of life, causing heart palpitations, chronic fatigue and debilitating pain. For more information about AFib, symptoms, risk factors, prevention and treatment, check out the AFib Awareness PSA or visit http://www.myAFib.org.

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 5,400 heart rhythm professionals in more than 70 countries around the world.

Contact: Schwartz MSL Boston for Heart Rhythm Society
Marisa Borgasano, 781-684-0770
HRS@SchwartzMSL.com
or
Heart Rhythm Society
Kennesha Baldwin, 202-464-3476
kbaldwin@HRSonline.org

 

Posted: April 2012


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