Sudden Cardiac Arrest FAQs

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is when the heart stops suddenly, usually due to ventricular fibrillation.  When a Cardiac Arrest occurs the brain and other vital organs begin to lose their blood supply.  The victim loses consciousness.

Who is at risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Everyone is at risk for SCA, from infants to the elderly. However, those who suffer from heart disease are at a much higher risk for SCA. 

Heart disease in young children often goes unnoticed.  When parents enroll their children in youth sports programs, they should have their children screened for heart disease and heart defects.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the No. 1 killer of student athletes.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest treatment

With no way to prevent SCA the important thing is to learn how to respond to it. Learning CPR and having an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) close by is the best way to prepare for possible Sudden Cardiac Arrest. In most cases, bystander CPR is the most crucial aspect of treatment.

For every minute a person goes without treatment (CPR administration or a shock from an AED), their chance of survival decreases by 10 percent.

Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest the same as a heart attack?

SCA is not the same as a heart attack.  SCA is a malfunction of the heart that results in no heartbeat while a heart attack results from blocked blood flow to the heart.  When an AED and chest compressions from Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) are combined, an SCA victim's chance of survival increases by 66.5%.   

Find more information about the difference here.

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