UND is working to become a "cardiac ready" campus.
The Cardiac Ready Community is a North Dakota Department of Health and American Heart Association initiative to develop a community-wide effort to address areas that may improve cardiac outcomes, said Bryan Delage, assistant professor of family and community medicine at UND's School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
As a part of the Grand Forks community, UND inquired about being a Cardiac Ready campus and started organizing to be the first cardiac ready campus in the state of North Dakota, he said.
"We know that early CPR and early defibrillation of a witnessed (cardiac) arrest results in much better likelihood of survival. If someone starts CPR and a defibrillator is used early, 50% are likely to survive; if that is not the case, then the survival rate nationwide is about 10%," Delage said.
In those communities where survival is higher, more people are likely to start CPR and there is improved availability of defibrillators, he added.
Delage said community education about factors that increase risk for heart disease such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia can promote awareness and earlier intervention to decrease risk, which is also part of the reasoning behind the effort.
Efforts to screen for hypertension have already been started on campus, and efforts to increase public awareness have also started, he said. Additionally, training on AED use and CPR have begun.
The group is about a month into the program, Delage said, noting he feels the campus was already prepared in a lot of different areas, but now they are working on increasing awareness.
He said those involved with the project are working to organize groups to make this an ongoing campaign to improve outcomes on campus as well as in the greater Grand Forks community. There are a number of groups and people involved in the project including SIM ND, the UND School of Nursing, the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Altru Hospital, Altru EMS, the Wellness Center at UND, UND Facilities and Terry Wynne.
"We are excited to bring this to the university and hope that our efforts can improve awareness of the risks for heart disease, what to do when you see someone arrest and how to initiate the chain of survival to improve the outcomes in our community," Delage said.