Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the most common cause of death in the Unites States. Despite its major impact on public health, significant challenges exist at the patient, provider, public, and policy levels with respect to raising more widespread awareness and understanding of SCA risks, identifying patients at risk for SCA, addressing barriers to SCA care, and eliminating disparities in SCA care and outcomes. To address many of these challenges, the Duke Center for the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (Durham, NC) held a think tank meeting on December 7, 2009, convening experts on this issue from clinical cardiology, cardiac electrophysiology, health policy and economics, the US Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, and device and pharmaceutical manufacturers. The specific goals of the meeting were to examine existing educational tools on SCA for patients, health care providers, and the public and explore ways to enhance and disseminate these tools; to propose a framework for improved identification of patients at risk of SCA; and to review the latest data on disparities in SCA care and explore ways to reduce these disparities. This article summarizes the discussions that occurred at the meeting.
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