Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a fatal heart condition in which chest pain starts and the heart stops beating suddenly. The blood is not pumped by your heart anymore. Within a matter of minutes, this puts your organs and entire body at higher risk of death because your organs require a nonstop supply of oxygen, which is delivered through the blood.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation are two emergency medical procedures that are put to use in case of higher risk or possibility of bad heart health leading to sudden cardiac arrest situations. Until an electric shock restores a normal cardiac rhythm, CPR keeps adequate oxygen in the victim’s lungs and gets it to their brain. Defibrillators (AED) and CPR can save lives. You can also take an online CPR/AED course and maximize the chances of survival for any SCA patient near you.
Common Causes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
It is important to understand that a sudden cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack. A heart attack is a result of a blockage in one or more coronary arteries that stops the heart from getting enough oxygen-rich blood. The heart can be damaged when your heart cannot receive oxygen from your blood. On the other hand, sudden cardiac arrest happens due to multiple reasons. You will read about them below soon.
6 Reasons for Sudden Cardiac Arrest
- Malfunctioning of the electrical system of the heart and it begins to beat irregularly.
- Heart is beating at a dangerously fast speed.
- Ventricles of the heart twitch or flutter, causing irregular heartbeats.
- Coronary Artery Disease, in which arteries can’t deliver sufficient blood with oxygen to the heart.
- Changes in the structure of the heart, like enlargement, because of high blood pressure.
- Inherited cardiac disorders.
If prompt action is not taken during the sudden cardiac arrest, then the victim’s condition might become serious and they may become unconscious. That’s when CPR is useful to keep the blow flow from the heart going till medical assistance arrives. If your family or friends are at risk of heart disease, consider learning CPR, so you are always prepared for an emergency.
Who is at risk of sudden cardiac arrest?
You are more likely to get SCA if you:
- Have coronary artery disease or CAD. Most SCA sufferers also have CAD. However, CAD typically doesn’t show any symptoms, so that they might be unaware of it.
- Are older; as you get older, your risk of SCA increases.
- A male; it occurs more frequently in men than in women.
- Have additional diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, or chronic renal disease.
- Had previously experienced irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia).
- A history of SCA or hereditary illnesses that can induce arrhythmia in your family or your personal life.
- Possess a substance abuse or alcoholism issue.
- Have experienced a heart attack or heart failure.
What Can You Do in a Sudden Cardiac Arrest Situation?
Let’s first understand the symptoms of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The typical warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest are immediate and severe.
7 Warning Signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
- Collapsing suddenly
- Absence of pulse or breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Discomfort in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling weak
- Palpitations: heart beats fast, flutter or pound
Tackle SCA Risk Factors With Following Steps:
1. Contact emergency medical services or call 911. If a phone is nearby and you can use it right away, call before starting CPR.
2. Assess the individual’s breathing. Start CPR only if the person isn’t breathing regularly. Attempt to give compressions on the person’s chest at a rate of 100–120 compressions per minute. If you have received CPR training, make sure the person can breathe by checking their airway and giving two rescue breaths after every 30 compressions.
3. Just keep performing chest compressions if you are untrained in CPR. Let the chest fully rise in between compressions. Do this repeatedly until a portable AED is available or help arrives.
4. Use a portable AED if required. If you are not familiar with AED, follow the step-by-step voice instructions to use it.
Most victims of cardiac arrest can recover if they receive treatment within a few minutes. CPR should be started right away and continued until emergency medical personnel arrive. Taking a high-quality CPR/AED course from the American CPR Care Association can help you save a life by making the right decision and taking prompt action at the right time.