Heart Rhythm Society and Association of Black Cardiologists launch 10-City Arrest the Risk campaign to tackle sudden cardiac arrest among African Americans


The Heart Rhythm Society and the Association of Black Cardiologists are working in conjunction to help reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac arrest among African Americans through a new campaign titled 10-City Arrest the Risk.

According to the Heart Rhythm Society, approximately 95% of sudden cardiac arrest cases result in death; however, it is proven most deadly in African Americans. In order to tackle this issue, the Hearth Rhythm Society and the Association of Black Cardiologists have announced a 10-city plan including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Baltimore, Washington DC, Jackson, Missisipi; Nashville, Tennessee; Detroit, and Oakland, California to educate at-risk communities and provide resources regarding risk factors and recommended treatments to prevent sudden cardiac arrest. The organisations also announced that they are working together with healthcare providers and African American community leaders.

As a part of this initiative, the Heart Rhythm Society has developed a sudden cardiac arrest risk assessment tool, available at ArrestTheRisk.org. The tool provides a means for patients to ask self-reflective questions about personal and family health issues, as well as start a dialogue with a physician about sudden cardiac arrest risks. Physicians may refer patients to specialists, including electrophysiologists, for further evaluation and to discuss prevention options.

“Lack of knowledge and access to appropriate treatment are two of the biggest factors leading to the deadly impact of sudden cardiac arrest among African Americans. When it comes to sudden cardiac arrest, early intervention can literally save lives,” said Kevin L Thomas, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Division of Cardiovascular Disease, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, USA. “It is critical to talk to your doctor about sudden cardiac arrest risk factors including your family’s heart health history. February as Heart Health Month is a good reminder to make an appointment with your doctor to examine your risk and discuss preventative treatment options.”

A national survey* released in October 2012 by the Heart Rhythm Society indicates lack of awareness and treatment of sudden cardiac arrest puts African Americans at greater risk of death from the condition. Ninety per cent of African Americans say their doctor has never talked to them about sudden cardiac arrest. In addition, though treatment guidelines recommend implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) as the standard of care for patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest, studies show that the use of these devices and other innovative cardiovascular technologies are less common among African Americans. As a result, a large percentage of high-risk patients are not receiving these treatments, leading to a greater likelihood of death.

“Sudden cardiac arrest is one of many heart-related conditions that disproportionately impacts African Americans,” said Ola Akinboboye, president, Association of Black Cardiologists. “Since sudden cardiac arrest can happen to people of all ages and health conditions, campaigns like Arrest the Risk serve to educate and remind all of us about the importance of being an informed patient. There are steps people can take to reduce their risk of experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.”

Launched in October 2012,
the Arrest the Risk campaign aims to reduce the inequalities in sudden cardiac arrest incidents amongst African Americans and increase the dialogue between patients and physicians. The initiative is designed to overcome the barriers to proper diagnosis and treatment of sudden cardiac arrest through educational resources, and sudden cardiac arrest risk assessment available on ArrestTheRisk.org, as well as a powerful public service announcement featuring Shaun Robinson, Emmy-award winning journalist and weekend co-anchor and correspondent for “Access Hollywood.”

*About the Survey

In August 2012, the Heart Rhythm Society worked with Ipsos Healthcare to conduct a 20-minute online survey of more than 1,500 adult consumers and 300 physicians in the USA. A representative sample of Caucasian, African American and Hispanic consumers were surveyed, as well as a sample of three types of physicians- primary care physicians including those in general practice, family practice and internal medicine; cardiologists; and electrophysiologists, who are cardiac arrhythmia specialists. The survey aimed to help the Heart Rhythm Society identify current awareness levels and perceptions of sudden cardiac arrest.