THE Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) will be hosting an Emergency Cardiac Care Symposium on today as the highlight of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) Week, which is being observed from August 22 to 26.
The week, being recognised under the theme ‘Let’s Push-Start the Heart — Give CPR’ will feature a week of promotional activities geared towards increasing public awareness and promoting community and bystander participation. The symposium provides training and education for health-care professionals in emergency caridac care (ECC) and will encourage them to become certified or maintain certification in basic CPR and advanced cardiac life support.
According to the HFJ, about 90 per cent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac episode, end up dying because of delayed or no emergency cardiac care response. CPR, if administered immediately after a cardiac arrest, can increase a person’s chance of survival.
Over the years the HFJ has recognised the need for the general population to also acquire these skills and knowledge, as laypersons will always be the first on the scene of a cardiac or respiratory emergency, and it is important that effort for resuscitation begins as soon as possible until medical help arrives.
“It is the mission of the HFJ to reduce morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease by 25 per cent by 2025, based on the World Health Organization’s [WHO] target,” said Dr Hugh Wong, director of emergency cardiac care training at the foundation.
“In order to accomplish this it is critical that we foster a society that is knowledgeable and certified so that emergencies outside of a health-care facility can be properly attended to by a loved one or bystander,” he added.
CPR is the first and most critical step for a person experiencing sudden cardiac arrest — whether at home or within a health-care facility. It is performed to maintain the flow of oxygenated blood to vital organs with the intention to delay the dying of tissues and to, hopefully, extend the possibility for successful resuscitation without permanent brain damage.
Dr Wong also pointed out that the current pandemic has brought on the need for some adjustments in how ECC is administered.
“The [novel coronavirus] pandemic also posed some challenges with the administration of CPR and other ECC. Policy and procedural adjustments are required to safely administer resuscitation, and this is a concern that we intend to discuss.”
The Emergency Cardiac Care Symposium, being hosted by the HFJ, will feature presentations from Dr Lenroy Bryan, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the UHWI; Dr Tamra Tomlinson Morris, consultant in the Department of Medicine and Division of Paediatric Cardiology at the Bustamante Hospital for Children Hospital; and Dr Tahira Redwood, cardiologist, consultant internist and sports medicine specialist.
Health-care practitioners who sign up for the symposium will also receive the added benefit of being credited with Continuing Medical Education (CME) hours.
Persons interested in participating in the ECC symposium can visit the HFJ website at www.heartfoundationja.org or by calling our offices at: (876) 926-4378 or 929-3195.
The ECC symposium forms part of the HFJ’s list of annual activities.