American Heart Association Donates Infant CPR Kits To Local Tulsa Hospitals for World Heart Day

Currently 6.3 million children under the age of five die each year from a cardiac event. The American Heart Association’s Heart Ball chair members Kevin and Hayley Vann are tackling this statistic head on. 150 infant CPR training kits were donated to Ascension St. John Medical Center and Hillcrest Medical Center recently in Tulsa. During the COVID-19 pandemic, local hospitals have had to pause or cutback on CPR training for new mothers.
Dr. Jabraan Pasha, MD with the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine commented, “The current pandemic has impacted all our lives in many ways.  While many things have changed, some have not.  The need for effective CPR education persists in all our communities.  Current barriers to in-person trainings for new parents only highlight the need for creative ways to deliver this truly life-saving information. I am proud of the American Heart Association’s efforts which have led to us providing 150 infant CPR training kits to local hospitals that will go home with the families of new babies.  As we know, timely and effective CPR saves lives.  Knowing that new mothers and fathers will still be able to receive this important training is a huge win during these difficult times.”     
Dr. Parker Simon, Neonatologists at Ascension St. John, reiterates just how frequent infant CPR related cases are being seen in local hospitals. Dr. Parker shared,” Cardiorespiratory events are fairly common, especially in former preterm infants.  Typically, these infants show up at the ER after a critical event has occurred at home.  Anecdotally, we see a few of these infants showing up every month at the hospital.  Some infants with undiagnosed congenital heart disease can present with critical illness to the ER after being discharged home with a seemingly normal hospital stay. Fortunately, we are diagnosing more of these infants with the institution of the CCHD pulse oximetry screening on all Oklahoma babies at 24 hours of life. “
Dr. Parker also went on to explain why knowing CPR is critical as a new parent. “Early recognition is key with most conditions or illnesses.  Early recognition and treatment can result in improved outcomes for all patients.  For infants, the etiology of cardiorespiratory events many times is respiratory, but we should not ignore cardiac etiologies.  Teaching parents about CPR and teaching parents how to recognize signs and symptoms of illness is very helpful to improve the outcomes for these kids.”