What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. SCA usually causes death if it’s not treated within minutes.
Every year nearly 295,000 people suffer from SCA in the United States. Only 7-8% survive. This is more than the number of people who die from AIDS, Alzheimer’s firearms, breast cancer, colon cancer, fires, motor vehicle crashes, prostate cancer, and suicides combined. Why is survival such a rare thing? The problem is largely due to a lack of awareness and basic training on the part of the public and even some health professionals. It doesn’t have to be this way.
SCA is not the same as a heart attack. During a heart attack the heart continues beating, but blood flow to the heart is blocked. SCA can occur during or after a heart attack.
What Do I Do?
Administering Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR can improve the chances of survival until emergency personnel arrive. Community members are encouraged to learn “hands-only CPR” and use an Automated External Defibrillator or AED as soon as possible. For every minute that CPR/AED use is delayed, the chances of survival decrease by 10%.