Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of more than 350,000 people each year. Anyone can experience Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), including infants, children, teens, young adults and people in their 30s and 40s who have no sign of heart disease, as well as more mature adults.
SCA is not a heart attack. A heart attack is caused by impeded blood flow through the heart. SCA is caused by a structural or electrical problem, often from an undetected heart condition, and in other instances, from an infection or a severe blow to the chest. In 95 percent of cases, the SCA victim is lost.
To survive SCA, the victim must receive life-saving defibrillation from an automated external defibrillator (AED) within the first four to six minutes. Every minute that passes without a shock from an AED decreases the chance of survival by 10 percent. Administering hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be a bridge to life until an AED arrives.
As noted by the Institute of Medicine, the SCA survival rate has remained stagnant for three decades because we aren’t as prepared as we should be to save a life.
There is a critical need to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest and educate people about prevention strategies and how to take immediate action in the case of a cardiac emergency.