American Heart Association introduces opioid education courses for healthcare providers and lay responders

In a direct response to the ongoing national opioid crisis, the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, will provide two courses to educate both lay responders and all levels of clinical healthcare providers and emergency responders on delivering immediate treatment and care for opioid overdose victims. The online courses, Opioid Education for Healthcare Providers and Opioid Education for Non-Clinical Staff and Lay Responders will quickly and effectively teach the public and healthcare professionals about the opioid epidemic and what they can do to help someone who has had an overdose. Both courses are available now online at https://elearning.heart.org/courses

Deaths from opioid overdoses – a direct corollary for respiratory and cardiac arrest in these patients – have reached crisis proportions and created the urgent need for science-based, standardized education. The American Heart Association trains more than 22 million people globally every year by educating healthcare providers, caregivers and the general public on how to respond to cardiac arrest and first aid emergencies.

These new courses for healthcare professionals and bystanders, coupled with the existing resuscitation training from the recognized leader in resuscitation science and training, provides more comprehensive preparation for the general public, healthcare providers and emergency responders.

The self-directed bystander course will discuss the recognition and treatment of opioid overdose including the use of high-quality CPR and reversal agents as appropriate. The healthcare provider course will also provide detailed information about the opioid epidemic, opioid-use disorder, pathophysiology of pain and opioids that lead to addiction, as well as provide an overview of complementary therapies. The course, intended for EMTs, paramedics, nurses, physicians and additional mid-level healthcare providers, will enable providers on the front lines of this medical crisis to improve patient care and save more lives.

“As the provider of resuscitation training for more than 90 percent of U.S. hospitals, the American Heart Association is stepping into this crisis and filling the need in standardized education for healthcare professionals,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., MPH, the Association’s chief medical officer for prevention. “Arming as many people as possible with up-to-date, practical knowledge on what to do – both immediately and as follow up – is imperative to saving lives and improving outcomes.”

In February, the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable, a leadership collaborative of 40-plus members who collectively represent more than 10 million employees and their family members to tackle the biggest workforce health challenges, pledged to tackle the opioid epidemic with a statement calling on workplaces to partner with health care plans, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) providers to create new policies and solutions, including defining what appropriate use looks like. The development of the opioid education courses echoes the commitment by the Association and the CEO Roundtable.

About the Opioid Crisis
The toll of increasing prescription and illicit opioid abuse, addiction and overdose has devastated communities across the United States and has reached crisis proportions, taking a tragic toll on countless individuals and our society. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse an estimated 115 die daily from respiratory and cardiac distress resulting from an opioid overdose, often attributed to the misuse of prescription pain medication. Meanwhile, approximately 100 million Americans experience pain every day and, for many, this pain interferes with their physical and mental health, work productivity, social interactions and activities of daily living.

Dutchess-Ulster Heart Walk Honorees – Madison and Matthew

Thanks to our Junior Heart Walk Honorees this year, Madison Dallies and Matthew Burchell! Here are their stories.Matthew and Madison

 

Madison Dallies

At a routine ultrasound showed there was a possible hole in Madison’s heart, in between her ventricles.  A future level 2 ultrasound confirmed that she definitely had a hole in between the ventricles, but they believe there wasn’t any constriction at that time in her Pulmonary Artery.  A month later, the doctor said that Madison’s congenital heart defect was worse than we thought and she was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot—a rare condition of four heart birth defects at once.

Doctors said the constriction in her Pulmonary Artery was very severe and that she would need surgery to place a shunt within 24 hours of her birth.

On Monday April 14th at 3:04 PM, Madison was born and the surgery for her shunt placement would occur the very next morning at 7:30 AM. IMG_6897

Her mother said, “That night, I went and met my little girl for the first time.  She is a fighter and the strongest person that I know.  She was born with virtually no pulmonary artery opening, a large hole in between her ventricles, and an overriding aortic artery, which are 3 of the 4 conditions of Tetralogy of Fallot.  The 4th condition is the thickening of the right ventricle wall, which has been occurring over time since she was born.”

Madison’s first surgery lasted almost 5 hours. They successfully placed a shunt to redirect the blood to the branches of her pulmonary artery from her aortic artery.

“Our first visit with her post-surgery was the scariest sight of my life.  To see my baby with rows of machines behind a large hospital bed and know that all of those machines had medicine in them that was being pumped into my little girl, was terrifying.  Six days after her birth, we got to hold our little girl for the first time.  Six days after that, we took our precious miracle home,” said her mother.

They met with cardiologists monthly until her second surgery when she was eight months old. Madison’s six-hour surgery was successful and after 11 days in the hospital she finally went home.

They met with her surgeon every 6 months, then one-year visits because her constriction sounded and looked much better.  This year, at her 8-year visit, her doctor has requested a Pulmonary Nuclear Lung Perfusion Scan performed to measure the output between the two branches of her pulmonary artery. They are working with her cardiologists now to tackle the next steps.

“Congenital heart defects can be a lifelong battle. I am very proud today to be able to say that I am the Mother of a Heart Warrior.  She is my hero and I cannot imagine my world without her in it.  Thank you to all of the work that the American Heart Association has done over the years to provide funding for research so that my little girl could still be here today,” said Madison’s mother.
Matthew Burchell 

At four months old, Matthew’s pediatrician believed he heard an “innocent heart murmur.”

An “innocent” murmur is considered harmless and would not require monitoring or intervention.  The doctor was not overly concerned and indicated he would refer us to a pediatric cardiologist if he still heard the murmur at six months.  I pushed for an immediate referral which he was more than happy to give.

On August 22, 2008, to his parents’ surprise, Matthew was diagnosed with two congenital heart defects: a bicuspid aortic valve with mild stIMG_8075enosis and a mildly dilated ascending aorta.

The aortic valve is the valve between the heart and the aorta which prevents the blood from flowing back into the heart. The aorta is the main artery which moves oxygen enriched blood throughout the body. A normal valve has three leaflets. A bicuspid valve only has two. A bicuspid valve can lead to stenosis (blockage) and regurgitation (back flow).  His valve is also susceptible to bacterial infection.

The dilation of the ascending aorta has since progressed and is now considered a stable, thoracic aortic aneurysm.

An aneurysm is when the diameter of a portion of the artery is significantly larger than normal. An untreated aneurysm can lead to dissection or rupture, resulting in a catastrophic incident.

Matthew must be monitored annually to assess both the valve and aneurysm. Unfortunately, there is no medication that can fix either defect.

Matthew is now eight years old. He has not required surgical intervention to date and is not restricted from any day to day activities. He has, however been discouraged from participating in competitive activities such as football, weightlifting, hockey or wrestling which could cause trauma or straining. Physical restrictions may result as he ages and the dilation increases.

Statistically, one in 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect. In Matthew’s case, boys are three times more likely to be diagnosed with a bicuspid valve than girls.

Approximately 80% of those with a bicuspid valve, also suffer from dilation of the aorta or an aneurysm.

Matthew is on a life-long journey. There is no quick fix. Diligent monitoring of his condition is a must and progression is inevitable.

In the future, any surgical intervention that Matthew will undergo will come with its own risks and maintenance.

That is why his parents support the American Heart Association. Because every day there is more research and studies being conducted that will one day help those like Matthew born with Congenital Heart Defects live their best lives possible.

 www.dutchessulsterheartwalk.org