Sudden Cardiac Arrest Information & Facts

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is an electrical problem. It occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions and the heart stops beating. The heart can no longer pump blood to the brain and vital organs. SCA occurs most often with little or no warning.

SCA is NOT a heart attack. A heart attack is a plumbing problem. It occurs when one or more blood vessels become blocked thus preventing the proper flow of blood to the heart.

Facts About SCA:

  • SCA is the leading cause of death in the United States claiming an estimated 300,000 people each year or approximately 1000 people a day.

  • SCA can strike persons of any age, gender, race, and even those in good health.

  • It is estimated that 95% of victims of SCA do not survive because most SCAs are unwitnessed and/or urgent medical care could not be provided in a timely fashion.

  • Less than 1/3 of SCA victims receives bystander CPR.

Facts About SCA in Youth:

  • The true incidence of SCA in youth is unknown due to the lack of a National Registry.

  • SCA kills between 5000 and 7000 children each year. Some believe this number is grossly underestimated.

  • Over 3000 adolescents and young adults (age 14-24) experience cardiovascular death per year.

  • SCA is the leading cause of death on school property.

  • SCA is the leading cause of death in student athletes.

  • Every 3 days, a young, competitive athlete suffers SCA.

  • Over 64% of young athletes (and others) survived SCA if it occurred in a High School with an AED program.

Sources: Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation – Sudden Death in Athletes, American Heart Association

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