AAPI-AHA Jointly Organize World Restart A Heart Day

 Sudden cardiac arrest is a serious public health crisis costing about 360,000 human lives here alone in the United States. Studies have shown that immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal are experiencing a dramatic rise in heart disease. South Asians make up 25 per cent of the world’s population but they contribute 50 percent to global cardiovascular deaths.

Unfortunately 9/10 persons with sudden cardiac arrests do not survive but if rescued by timely CPR before the emergency help arrives, then we can double or triple the chances of recovery. Majority of cardiac arrest patients have underlying coronary disease but for some especially, South Asians,  who have this problem could recognize the manifestation of this illness very late.

With an ever increasing need  in reducing morbidity and mortality due to heart attacks and strokes, especially among Indians and  Indian Americans, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and the American Heart Association (AHA) joined hands together for the first time for a Global Initiative, World Restart A Heart Day with the objective of raising awareness about “Sudden Cardiac Arrest“ and how “Hands Only CPR“ is done  at home, thus rescuing and saving the lives of our loved ones on Sunday, October 18, 2020.

Francesca Martinez, representing AHA addressed the event. Panelists at the live virtual session included, Dr. Kapil Pareek, a SCD survivor; Anupama Gotimukula, President-Elect of AAPI; Dr. Brahma Sharma, Cardiologist; and Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalgadda, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI).

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalgadda said this is first time in AAPI history in Association with AHA observe the world restart Heart Day. It’s a total commitment to the joint efforts by AAPI and AHA. “I am very impressed with the energy and strength of the leaders who have taken upon themselves this noble task on creating awareness and educating the physicians and the public on this very serious disease, especially among South Asians in the US. We have the talents, skills, strength and the commitment. Let’s put them to work and help our brethren.”

The World Federation Societies of Anesthesiologists (WFSA), in collaboration with the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) runs the “World Restart a Heart Day,” a global campaign on the occasion of World Anesthesia Day. This is a global initiative, started in 2018 to increase the awareness of Bystander-CPR, in addition to increasing the overall Bystander CPR rates.

Dr. Brahma Sharma, a prominent cardiologist, serving as the Chair of the AAPI And AHA Liason Committee on South Asians CVD, said, “For too long, we South Asians have silently suffered from senseless premature death of our loved ones from cardiac arrests in our homes but no more , we have to be proactive so Under this historic AAPI – AHA alliance , we plan to  take this initiative of Hands only CPR” to every household so we can feel comfortable to pitch in and rescue these  previous lives in first few minutes before help arrives “

During the event, AAPI stressed the importance of Hands Only CPR for bystanders and immediately rescue lives and reduce “Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrests. A Hands on only CPR demonstration was led by Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President-Elect of AAPI. “Every family member needs to know how to do “Hands Only CPR” to save a life from sudden Cardiac Arrest!” It’s a day to commemorate the importance of Anesthesia specialty in the medical field with which we are able to make wonders in the medical field, especially the surgical specialties and able to do all complex surgeries successfully today!!

The AAPI-AHA Liaison Committee Advisor Dr. Vemuri S. Murthy, an advocate of Community and Physician Resuscitation Education and Training for more than three decades in USA and India, in a recent interview, shared his thoughts and concerns regarding current status of the out- of- hospital cardiac arrests and diminishing bystander resuscitation help during COVID-19 pandemic. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival. In majority of cases, immediate Hands-only CPR may have similar survival outcomes comparable to the conventional CPR performed with both chest compressions and breaths.

Global evidence-based information has proven that Bystander CPR is life-saving in sudden cardiac arrest. The latter is recognized by sudden collapse of the person without any breathing, pulse or consciousness. It’s important to call 911 first before performing Hands-only CPR. The bystander performing CPR needs to cover the mouth and nose fully with a face mask or cloth. The victim’s mouth and nose must be covered too with a face mask or cloth. Performing Hands-Only CPR involves pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Automated External Defibrillator (AED) needs to be utilized as soon as it’s available. This high-quality CPR should be continued by the bystander until the  arrival of paramedics. It’s important to follow the Good Samaritan Laws of a particular US State while performing Bystander CPR.

While serving as an umbrella organization for more than 200 member associations nationwide, AAPI was formed to coordinate the efforts of the physicians of Indian origin, currently working in the United States. Headquartered in Chicago, AAPI has come to be recognized as a strong voice in the healthcare legislation and policy arena. For more information on AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

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