Cheney Cardiovascular Institute Launches ReStart DC, A Life-Saving Public Access Defibrillation Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 11, 2009 Contact: Anne Banner 202-994-2261

WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to save more lives from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), The Cheney Cardiovascular Institute at The George Washington University will launch the ReStart DC program on June 11. The goal of the ReStart DC program is to place automated external defibrillators (AEDs) where large numbers of people gather throughout all eight wards of Washington, D.C. and to raise awareness about the critical need for broad AED access to help save lives.

To kick off the program, ReStart DC will present Philips HeartStart AEDs to the leaders of several community organizations that serve D.C. residents. Lynne Cheney will host the event at Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Roman Catholic Church on Thursday, June 11, 2009. The launch follows the second annual National CPR/AED Awareness Week.

Each year, an estimated 325,000 American lives are claimed by SCA – an electrical malfunction of the heart that causes it to quiver rather than pump in a normal rhythm. SCA is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. In Washington, D.C., it is estimated that SCA claims the lives of 700 people each year.

If someone suffers an SCA, defibrillation, the delivery of electrical current to the heart, is recognized as the definitive treatment. Today, less than seven percent of SCA victims survive, largely because defibrillators do not reach them in time. For every minute that passes without defibrillation, a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival decreases by about 10 percent. After the first few minutes without defibrillation, not many attempts at resuscitation are successful, so it is critical that bystanders take immediate action if someone suffers an SCA in a public place. Technological advances make AEDs lightweight, portable and easy-to-use by virtually anyone.

“ReStart DC aims to put defibrillators where people gather. We want to make the public aware that if sudden cardiac arrest happens, anyone can help save a life with this equipment,” said Lynne Cheney, co-founder of the Institute.

In the initial phase, ReStart DC will donate 50 Philips HeartStart AEDs to community centers, churches and youth organizations that serve local residents throughout all eight wards of D.C. The second phase of the program will expand outreach to the greater metropolitan area including locations in Maryland and Virginia, through the donation of an additional 150 AEDs. The first eight organizations to receive AEDs and training packages include: The Latin American Youth Center; Emmaus Services for the Aging; Lisner-Louise-Dickson-Hurt Home; The Emory United Methodist Church; Harbor Light Salvation Army; Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Roman Catholic Church; The First Baptist Church of Deanwood; and THEARC.

“I cannot stress the importance of having AEDs accessible. THEARC serves more than 50,000 individuals annually so it is imperative that we provide potentially life-saving tools to our constituents,” said Edmund Fleet, executive director of THEARC. “THEARC is pleased to partner with The Cheney Cardiovascular Institute on this important endeavor and we are very grateful for the Institute’s generous gift of an automated external defibrillator for our facility and training for our staff members.”

About The GW Cheney Cardiovascular Institute
The Cheney Cardiovascular Institute at The George Washington University was established in 2006. The Institute’s mission is to promote clinical research, education, patient care and community service with the goal of accelerating the pace of scientific discovery, reducing mortality and improving the quality of life of Americans with cardiovascular disease.

For more information about the program, visit www.ReStartDC.org
For more information about HeartStart Defibrillators, visit www.philips.com/heartstart.