The Challenge

Sudden cardiac arrest is more common than you think. The American Heart Association reports that nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States (1). Nevertheless, the US is not the only one affected. In fact, sudden cardiac arrest is a global problem and it represents the leading cause of global mortality, accounting for almost 17 million deaths annually. In developing countries, sudden cardiac arrest causes more deaths than HIV, malaria and TB combined (2).

What Can We Do To Help?

One way to strengthen the chain of survival and increase survival rates is to train people in our community to respond quickly and provide CPR to someone who needs it.

Journey To Success

This is the story of Dr. Kathy Hetzler and the School of Nursing of the University of Indianapolis. Kathy, an Associate Professor with the School of Nursing, has led multiple medical mission trips to villages in Loja, Ecuador where CPR education is not immediately available. Kathy and her team’s goal is to increase the knowledge of community members in delivering CPR to people who might need it. According to Kathy, “We are giving the community the ability to improve the health outcomes of community members suffering from cardiac arrest”.

The team imparts CPR training to 20 youths and adults from the community with the help of Family & Friends® CPR Anytime® and Infant CPR Anytime®. Once hands-on training is completed, a series of role-play exercises are done in order to present a more realistic portrayal of cardiac arrest. At the end of the day one adult and one infant manikin are left in each location, as the goal is to allow individuals to “continue teaching CPR to others. This is so important for us because we want it to be a sustainable effort that results in positive health outcomes of those with cardiac arrest”.

The Impact

The experience and results have been an outstanding success. The hands-on training was easily implemented and the group felt that the community members were prepared to continue teaching CPR to others, which was their main goal. The team wanted to leave a sustainable program that could positively influence health outcomes of those with cardiac arrest in the community, and this was accomplished beyond expectations! The group is already planning more trips to Ecuador and other locations in Asia Pacific in order to spread the word of bystander CPR. Kathy tells us, “People loved the manikins! After the training was over, one lady was teaching her husband how to do CPR, precious!” 

(1) American Heart Association. CPR Statistics. As of June 2011.

(2) Mehra, Rahul. "Global public health problem of sudden cardiac death." Journal of electrocardiology 40.6 (2007): S118-S122.