Key Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Facts
Every minute that defibrillation from an AED is not received reduces survival chances by 7-10%.
The average response time for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in the U.S. is 8-12 minutes.
Over 70% of SCAs occur in the home or place of residence, where AEDs are currently not available.
SCA is the leading cause of death of adults over the age of 40, and the leading cause of death of student athletes.
Nearly 90% of out of hospital cardiac arrests are fatal.
SCA takes one life every 90 seconds.
Out of hospital SCA leads to over 350,000 deaths per year in the U.S.
SCA is a condition in which the heartbeat stops abruptly and unexpectedly. This usually is caused by ventricular fibrillation (VF), an abnormality in the heart's electrical system. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain, the heart, and the rest of the body, and the person collapses. In fact, the person is clinically dead and will remain so unless someone takes immediate action. - Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation
What is SCA?
Is SCA the same as a heart attack?
No, SCA and a heart attack are completely different conditions. SCA affects the heart's electrical system. During SCA, the heart stops beating due to an electrical abnormality, which causes blood to cease being pumpted to the rest of the body. This could be compared to losing electricity in your house. The heart's “electricity” must be turned back on through an electrical shock delivered by an AED.
A heart attack affects the “plumbing” of the heart, and is caused by a blockage in a blood vessel that interrupts the flow of blood causing an area of the heart muscle to die. This causes a “blood backup” in the heart, similar to a backup in a plumbing line in a house. The heart must be “unclogged,” with drug therapy or surgery, in order to continue blood flow to the rest of the body.
While both SCA and heart attacks cause serious problems and possible death, SCA often occurs without warning and requires immediate attention because time is crucial to saving someone who is experiencing cardiac arrest. - Heart Rhythm Society
How can SCA be treated?
The only treatment for a person in Cardiac Arrest is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and a defibrillation shock delivered by an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). It is imperative that 911 is called and both of these treatments are started as soon as possible when you encounter a person in Cardiac Arrest. The patient will have the best chance at surviving if they receive a defibrillation shock within the first 5 minutes of experiencing Cardiac Arrest. The average response time for EMS services in the U.S. is 8-12 minutes, and thus its very important for laypersons to learn how to perform CPR and use an AED so that they can begin treatment as quick as possible!
An AED is a device that delivers a defibrillation shock to a person in Cardiac Arrest in order to restart their heart into a normal rhythm. AEDs will automatically analyze the patient's heart rhythm, and will only deliver a shock if the rhythm is determined to be "shockable". AEDs will not deliver a shock to anyone who is not in a fatal heart rhythm. These devices are safe, and specifically designed to be used by lay persons with no medical training. - Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation
What is an AED?
Performing CPR is super simple!
Check out this article written by American Red Cross that describes how to perform hands only CPR:
How do you perform CPR?
When will your AED be available for purchase?