Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month is a vital initiative set forth by the Heart Rhythm Society to educate the public and raise awareness for Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or SCA.
This year make it a point to learn more about what SCA is, the risk factors and warning signs, and how you can help save a life.
Contrary to popular belief, SCA is not a heart attack.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow through the heart is obstructed.
SCA occurs when there’s an electrical problem within your heart and is often caused by an undiagnosed heart condition.
SCA is the cause of more than 350,000 deaths every year. However, proper prevention and bystander response could bring that number down.
Who’s at risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
As in the name, SCA can occur in an instant, affecting people of all ages, no matter the condition of their heart. However, there are a few factors that could put you at an increased risk for SCA:
- If you’ve had a previous heart attack
- A family history of sudden death or critical heart conditions
- Abnormal heart rhythms or rapid heart rate
- Reoccurring episodes of fainting, shortness of breath, or chest pain
The Heart Rhythm Society has a helpful tool called the SCA Risk Assessment that you can take and explore your level of risk for SCA.
What steps can I take to help someone in a Sudden Cardiac Arrest emergency?
Time is everything when it comes to an SCA emergency. Here are some simple steps to take if ever faced with a potential SCA situation:
- Call 911
- Start CPR immediately
- Utilize an AED if available
If a bystander is able to initiate these lifesaving tasks, the SCA victim’s survival rate can increase from 10 to 50 percent.
- SCA Risk. “SCA Risk Assessment.” https://www.scarisk.org. 18 October 2018.
Written 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 18, 2018