Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Who is Most Affected?

We have learned from countless stories, that Sudden Cardiac Arrest can strike anyone at any time. Two-thirds of SCA deaths occur without prior indications of health issues, and this can happen to adults and children of all ages. However, these are a few of the signs and symptoms that you should not ignore. Medical/ Health Issues that put you at risk:

  • History of Heart Attack- “The majority of people who die of SCA show signs of a previous heart attack”, according to Heart Rhythm Society.
  • Family History of Heart Attack, Coronary Artery Disease, or Congenital Heart Defects
  • Electrical problems in the heart, Abnormal Heart Rate or Rhythm, or Heart Palpitations
  • Tachycardia, or an unusually fast heart rate that comes and goes.
  • Random episodes of fainting or dizzy spells for no apparent reason.
  • Known congenital heart defects.
  • High Blood Pressure, and High Cholesterol
  • Unexplained wheezing, shortness of breath

Lifestyle factors that can put you at risk:

  • High Blood Pressure, or High Cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Excessive alcohol intake, and/or smoking tobacco products
  • Age- According to the Mayo Clinic, your risk increases as you age.
  • Nutrition/Mineral imbalance in your body
  • Sleep Apnea
  • And men have a higher incidence of SCA than women.

Risk factors for children:

  • Long QT Syndrome, a genetic disease, often goes unrecognized and undetected. Happens in 1 out of 7000 children. SCA can be triggered by extreme physical exertion, emotional distress, or illness.
  • Commotio Cordis is caused by a sudden blow to the chest usually during sporting events or accidents. According to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, “Researchers at the U.S. Commotio Cordis Registry studied 124 cases and found the average age is 14. Only 18 victims (14%) survived; most who survived received prompt CPR and defibrillation.”
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a common genetic disease that occurs in 1 out of 500 people. Characterized by stiff, or thick heart walls. The chambers of heart do not relax the way they should between heartbeats. Also known as diastolic dysfunction, this can cause heart palpitations, shortness of breath during physical activity, and chest pain. An ECG, or electrocardiogram, is the most common test used to diagnose this heart condition.

Always check with your doctor if you have recognized any of these risk factors or feel that you could be at risk of having a heart condition. Our goal at is to educate and inform everyone about Sudden Cardiac Arrest, teach you how to identify signs and symptoms, and what to do if  SCA strikes someone nearby.

Blog By Blaire CzarnieckiWritten by Blaire Czarniecki
Customer Service Director

Fact checked by Phillip Woods, BA, NREMT-P, FP-C

Blaire attended the University of Tennessee where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology- Child and Family Studies. She has been in the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) industry for over eight years and is the Director of Customer Service for Coro Medical. Blaire is also an American Red Cross-certified CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor, highly trained by each manufacturer on their specific AEDs, and knowledgeable regarding ALL State AED regulations and legislation.

“I know that every day I come to work, I am playing a part in saving someone’s life. I am passionate about these devices and am always looking for new and innovative ways to spread awareness and knowledge about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). I look forward to the day when everywhere I go, I will see an AED—when SCA will no longer take any lives.”

Last updated October 8, 2019