What Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a life-threatening emergency that can strike anyone at any time. It occurs when your heart beats irregularly or stops suddenly, usually because of an electrical disturbance in your heart's muscle cells and blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs, this can cause sudden collapse and loss of consciousness. If the heart doesn't start beating again within minutes, permanent brain damage or death can result.
What Are The Causes Of Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
Sudden cardiac arrest can be caused by several factors, including:
Heart attack – A heart attack occurs when there is not enough blood flow to the heart muscle. This can happen because of blockages in arteries or veins or because of other conditions that affect how blood flows through the body. A heart attack can cause an electrical malfunction in your heart.
Bacterial infection – Bacterial infections are bacterial organisms that grow in the body and cause disease. Some types of bacteria, such as staphylococcus and E-coli, can cause serious infections if they get into your bloodstream or lungs. These types of infections may lead to sudden cardiac arrest if they spread quickly enough through your bloodstream that they reach your heart muscle before you receive treatment for them with antibiotics.
Coronary artery disease – Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque builds up inside your arteries that supply blood to your heart muscle. This buildup narrows the artery and reduces blood flow to your heart muscle, which may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath or dizziness as well as sudden cardiac arrest.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy occurs when there's an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle walls (myocytes). This thickening prevents adequate blood flow through the chambers of the heart and can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
Long QT syndrome (LQTS) – LQTS is a congenital condition that causes your heart's electrical system to function abnormally and make you more likely to have an abnormal heartbeat called ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation — both forms of sudden cardiac arrest.
In most cases, sudden cardiac arrest happens without warning and results in death if not treated immediately with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). The chance of survival decreases 10 percent with every minute that passes between the onset of symptoms and CPR being started.
Are The Symptoms Of SCA The Same As A Heart Attack?
People who are having a heart attack often feel discomfort in their chest, but they may also have shortness of breath or pain in their arms, neck or jaw. Others may experience nausea, lightheadedness or extreme fatigue. If someone is having a heart attack, he or she will usually have other symptoms as well.
Sudden cardiac arrest often occurs with no warning, but there are some prior symptoms that may indicate that something is wrong. These include:
Feelings of chest pain or tightness;
Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing;
Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting; and
If you or someone around you experiences any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately!
What Are Treatment Options?
If you find yourself in this situation, call 911 and begin CPR until help arrives. You can also use an AED device, which is available in public places such as airports, malls, sporting events and schools. When an AED is used in the event of a SCA, survival rates increase exponentially. AEDs aren’t only for use by first responders, they are designed to be used by the average person and they save lives.
Buy An AED, Save A Life
Consider the value of AEDs and their potential to save a life. Every year thousands of people die from sudden cardiac events. AEDs have been proven to save lives and reduce disability when used immediately following a sudden cardiac arrest. The earlier the intervention, the better the outcomes; this is what makes purchasing an AED one of the most important life-saving decisions you will ever make.
Ultimately, the decision to buy an AED is a personal one. Your goals, your budget, and your intended use of the device will impact which model would best meet your needs. Whether you’re planning for worksite use or for home/personal use, AED Advantage can help you choose the best AED for your agenda.