About Sudden Cardiac Arrest

According to the Heart Rhythm Foundation, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for an estimated 325,000 deaths each year.

Sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical disturbance in the heart that prevents it from beating properly. During SCA, the ventricles flutter in a phenomenon known as ventricular fibrillation, making them unable to deliver blood to the body. The heart responds by quivering, rather than beating in a normal fashion. Blood flow to the brain is reduced to the point that the person loses consciousness and collapses. Unless emergency treatment is provided quickly, death usually follows.

Automated External Defibrillator - Zee Medical

There are no warning signs associated with SCA. It often affects those who have experienced previous episodes of SCA, heart attacks, or heart failure; but it can also strike someone with absolutely no history of heart problems.

Treatment and prevention

The Chain of Survival depicts the critical actions required to treat life-threatening emergencies, including heart attack, cardiac arrest, stroke, and foreign body airway obstruction. The links within this Chain of Survival include:

  1. Early Access to the emergency response system.
  2. Early CPR to support circulation to the heart and brain until normal heart activity is restored;
  3. Early Defibrillation to treat cardiac arrest caused by Ventricular Fibrillation; and
  4. Early Advanced Care by EMS and hospital personnel.

Every minute counts.