What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)?
- SCA is a condition where the electrical system of the heart short circuits, causing an abnormal rhythm known as ventricular fibrillation.
- A victim of sudden cardiac arrest is unconscious, is not breathing and has no pulse. When the heart stops beating there is a lack of oxygen to the brain and a patient will die unless emergency treatment is given immediately. Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when a blocked artery results in damage to the heart muscle by keeping blood and oxygen flowing to it. A heart attack can lead to a cardiac arrest.
- Sudden Cardiac Arrest is one of the leading causes of death around the world.
- It strikes 40,000 people in Canada every year.
- Only 5 – 10% of victims survive.
- Every minute of every day SCA claims a victim.
- Victims of all ages have been documented including teens, athletes, young and older adults.
- The time between the onset of cardiac arrest and defibrillation is the major determinant for success in a resuscitation attempt. While cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can support circulation and ventilation in a victim of cardiac arrest for a short period of time, it is unlikely to convert ventricular fibrillation (VF) to a normal heart rhythm.