Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition that claims the lives of an estimated 335,000 people in the U.S. each year. However, if treatment is initiated within the first few minutes of arrest, the survival rate is as high as 90 percent.

This year during National Heart Month, The Heart House and Virtua Foundation began equipping several community organizations with life-saving Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), which can be used in the event that someone experiences a sudden cardiac arrest.

“The Heart House is honored to work with Virtua Foundation to provide Automated External Defibrillators to deserving community organizations,” said Sanford J. Gips, MD, FACC, FSCAI, managing partner of The Heart House. “Sudden cardiac arrest claims more than 1,000 lives every day and more than half of SCA victims have no prior symptoms. The widespread availability of AEDs has the ability to turn a tragedy into a life saved.”

An AED is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can potentially stop an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest. Giving CPR and using an AED can greatly increase a victim's chance of survival.

Through a generous donation from The Heart House, Virtua Foundation has purchased 25 AEDs, which are being distributed to organizations across Camden and Burlington Counties.

“We are truly grateful to The Heart House and Dr. Gips for their commitment to keeping our community safe and healthy,” said Christina Mattison, senior vice president, Virtua Foundation.