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What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is unpredictable, often striking people who have had no previous symptoms.  It can scahappen anytime, anywhere, to anyone.

  • SCA is the leading cause of death in America, killing more than 330,000 people per year.
  • SCA occurs when the electrical impulses that trigger the rhythmic beating of the heart are disrupted.  An abnormal, chaotic, quivering heart rhythm known as ventricular fibrillation results.  Ventricular fibrillation causes the heart’s contractions to become ineffective and the forward flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and lungs stops.
  • During Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the patient will lose consciousness and stop breathing.  If a normal rhythm is not restored with a few minutes, death will certainly occur.
  • Bystanders who recognize a cardiac arrest, contact Emergency Medical Services (911), provide compression only CPR, and use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if one is available, can significantly increase the chance of the patient’s survival.

 

What about preventing and planning for SCA?

Because Sudden Cardiac Arrest can occur without warning, prevention can play a large role in survival.  Be sure to have regular checkups, be screened for heart disease, and live a heart-healthy lifestyle:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet.
  • Embrace physical activity.

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