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AHC Gamechanger: Demetris Yannopoulos

Dr. Demetris Yannopoulos

Have you ever had to resuscitate someone in cardiac arrest? Hopefully not, but if you have, Demetris Yannopoulos, M.D., probably had a say in what you did and how you did it.

Yannopoulos, an expert in interventional cardiology and medical director of the Minnesota Resuscitation Consortium within the University of Minnesota Medical School, is on the American Heart Association’s CPR guidelines-writing committee. This appointment puts him in a very influential position.

“Our procedures are followed by people nationally and internationally,” Yannopoulos said. “They are the standard for police officers, firefighters, EMTs and most other emergency personnel.”

Though it is crucial for medical professionals to be educated on the material, ordinary citizens also need to be informed on what to do if sudden cardiac arrest were to strike someone nearby.

In talking with Health Talk, Yannopoulos raised a concern that a lot of people are still following outdated procedures.

“We need to make sure everyone is current on what to do if a situation arises where intervention is necessary,” he said. “This could potentially help more people stay alive until EMTs arrive.”

To spread the word about up-to-date CPR procedures, the American Heart Association provides onsite advice and literature to people at various social events, as well as sponsoring presentations in schools.

But the care for victims doesn’t stop after a heartbeat is restored. Yannopoulos also pays close attention to the days and weeks after the incident. He recognizes that a lot of victims don’t bounce back to their normal life post-trauma.

“We work, build, and refine support groups for people who develop post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.” Yannopoulos explained.  “We want to make sure these individuals are resuming a healthy life both physically and mentally.”

Health professionals like Yannopoulos are truly doing amazing things on a national and international scale. His unique ability to provide lifesaving guidance to cardiac arrest victims without being present at the scene of the incident is what makes Demetris Yannopoulos a Gamechanger.

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