Saving Jazmin's heart
It was a regular day, a normal after-school wrestling practice for fifteen-year-old Jazmin. As part of her Vancouver, Washington high school co-ed team, she was training for an upcoming competition when she started feeling dizzy. Prone to anxiety attacks when running, she passed it off and kept going, running harder than ever as her coaches cheered her on. But, this wasn't a regular day, because moments later Jazmin went into cardiac arrest.
Thanks to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and the quick action of her coach, Jazmin survived an event that many do not.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) results in over 30,000 adult deaths in the United States each year. For youth, it's much less, around 6,000-8,000 and, in most cases, preventable. Often, these deaths occur in young people without any advance notice or symptoms. It's usually after a death that a cardiac abnormality or heart-related genetic disorder is discovered. In Jazmin's case, there was a family history but she was otherwise healthy.
"Although cardiac events in youth are less likely than adults, it's still something parents and youth need to pay attention to," said Mark Buchholz, MD, a pediatric critical care and emergency care physician at Randall Children's Hospital. "If there is a family history of heart disease and a teen is having symptoms like fainting during physical exertion like running or unexplained seizures, they need to see their doctor." Dr. Buchholz went on to say that understanding signs and symptoms for both teens and adults, along with knowing how to respond quickly, can aid in reducing cardiac related deaths. He also noted that calling 9-1-1 and being aware of life-saving equipment, like an AED, is integral in saving lives.
Fast action during Jazmin’s cardiac event was key to her survival. Her wrestling coach acted quickly, calling 9-1-1 and using the school's AED to save her life. AEDs are located in places like schools, shopping centers, airports, restaurants, or any other places where people may congregate. They are also designed for anyone to use, even those with no previous training, which has resulted in more lives saved.
Now that Jazmin is home and healing, she is looking for ways to still be involved in wrestling. "After what happened, my parent's won't let me wrestle but I'm still going back to help out, maybe as team manager," said Jazmin. Asked what she'd like other young people to know about her cardiac event, she stated the importance of paying attention to symptoms. "I don't think anyone knew something serious was happening," she said. "People should definitely pay attention when things don't seem right with their body."
For media inquiries, contact Ashley Stanford Cone.