What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

If you’ve been on our blog before, you’ve heard us talk about Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) occurs when an electrical malfunction of the heart causes it to suddenly stop beating. This is usually caused by an abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF), in which the heart quivers and cannot effectively pump blood. The only effective treatment for VF is an electrical shock administered by an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and high-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Below are 3 very important statistics regarding SCA.

Stat 1: Each year, more than 356,000 out-of-hospital Cardiac Arrests occur in the US and 17.5 million people across the globe die from cardiovascular disease each year. These numbers from the American Heart Association and the World Heart Federation are shocking and show just how important CPR/AED use is. In the United States, SCA claims more lives than influenza, colorectal cancer, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer, pneumonia, auto accidents, HIV, firearms, and house fires combined.

Stat 2: 10,000 SCAs occur in the workplace each year. For many of us, a large portion of our day is spent at work. In fact, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) strongly encourages the placement of AEDs in the workplace. Reasons for AEDs in the workplace:

  • Workers may suffer sudden cardiac arrest while on the job.
  • Onsite AEDs save precious treatment time and can improve survival odds because they can be used before emergency medical service (EMS) personnel arrive.
  • A heart rhythm in ventricular fibrillation may only be restored to normal by an electric shock.
  • The AED is compact, lightweight, portable, battery operated, safe, and easy to use.

Stat 3: A victim’s chances of survival are reduced by 7 to 10 percent with every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation. Approximately 50% of SCA victims initially require defibrillation. All require CPR. If you perform CPR immediately and use an AED within minutes, you can significantly increase a person’s chance of survival.

Blaire Czarniecki, Customer Service Director at 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 3, 2019