Medtronic unveils summer concert series for AED awareness

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX: Medtronic and GCI Group are launching their first grassroots campaign to raise awareness of a device used to shock the heart during sudden cardiac arrest.

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX: Medtronic and GCI Group are launching their first grassroots campaign to raise awareness of a device used to shock the heart during sudden cardiac arrest.

The company is launching a summer concert series in more than 30 cities to speed adoption of public automatic external defibrillators (AED), which can be operated even by people with little medical training.

James Taylor is headlining the "Keep the Beat" series, which kicked off here Thursday.

"The logic behind the concert is it really reaches into all the communities we want to get into," said Joyce Szymanski, PR manager for Medtronic emergency response systems.

She added that the concerts bring together EMS, medical providers, community leaders, and retailers.

At each concert, Medtronic will provide health information and promote the message that AEDs increase survival rates - from 5% up to 74%, according to a 2003 study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

It will also stress that sudden cardiac death can affect people of all ages, not just the elderly, noted GCI account supervisor Lindsay Caulfield.

"The idea is for us to go out and really educate the public at large about sudden cardiac arrest," said Anja Krammer, Medtronic's director of commercial marketing. "What we're really coming to the market with [is] a product that can increase your chance of survival."

The concerts will also raise funds for non-profit partner Neighborhood Watch, which is working to mandate AEDs in schools.

The campaign also has a health policy aspect, as a growing number of states consider legislation to increase access to AEDs in places like airports and health clubs. Medtronic is working to speed the adoption of AEDs in these public places.

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