Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death in developed countries and takes more lives than stroke, lung cancer, breast cancer and AIDS all together. In Croatia, approximately 9,000 people die each year from sudden cardiac death, or one person every hour.
According to local experts, about 9,000 people die from a sudden cardiac death each year, or one citizen every hour, and about 95% of them die due to lack of time for proper response. For listed reasons Association of Patients with Arrhythmias (UPAS) was founded and the goals are not only to conduct preventive information and education activities for citizens about sudden cardiac arrest, but also to encourage additional health care and direct health-care system resources into preventing this problem.
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is the leading cause of death in developed countries and is a worldwide major medical and social problem. In the USA, and similar presumptions are made for Croatia, sudden cardiac death takes more lives than stroke, lung cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined. The survival rate is very low, below 5%. In the case of cardiac function loss that causes sudden cardiac death, death usually occurs after a few minutes, which means that in these cases one cannot count on emergency medical intervention.
Mr. Marko Perica was elected for the president of UPAS. He was rescued twice last year from a cardiac arrest after which he was implanted with a cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). ICD therapy is currently the most effective therapy to prevent the fatal effects of malignant arrhythmias because the defibrillator is implanted in the body of patients who are at risk of sudden cardiac death and is activated in the event of a dangerous arrhythmia that causes cardiac arrest. With ICD therapy a 98% survival rate can be achieved. Patients who have a significantly increased risk of sudden cardiac death are those who have already survived cardiac arrest or those who have episodes of specific arrhythmias, and it is precisely these patients who need to be recognized more by the health-care system as suitable for the ICD therapy.
“Implanting a cardioverter defibrillator has allowed me to continue a normal life where I do not have to take a lot of medications and fear daily from sudden cardiac death. Given my life experience, I’ ve decided to help my fellow citizens, who may have some of the symptoms that reveal the possibility of a sudden cardiac death, without recognizing them and not knowing exactly who to turn to for help. Considering that in Croatia there is a significant need to increase the number of defibrillator implantations, we will communicate with health-care institutions, especially with the Croatian Health Insurance Institute, and encourage more implantations, because in this way we directly save human lives.” said Mr. Perica at the foundation of UPAS.
UPAS mentions that today, in terms of number of cardioverter defibrillator implantations, Croatia is far behind the EU countries as well as the other countries in the region. In fact, there are fewer than 40 implantations per million people in Croatia, while for example in Germany there are as many as 330 implantations, 200 in Switzerland, 250 in Poland, 130 in the Czech Republic, and more than 70 in Slovenia, etc.
The foundation of UPAS was also supported by the Working Group on Arrhythmias and Cardiac Pacing of the Croatian Cardiac Society, chaired by Assoc. prof. Šime Manola, MD, PhD employed at the Sisters of Mercy University Hospital Centre.
Downloaded from the website of the Working Group on Arrhythmias and Cardiac Pacing of the Croatian Cardiac Society.