Sudden Cardiac Arrest

According to statistics available from the British Heart Foundation and Department of Health, Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death in the United Kingdom, accounting for an estimated 100,000 deaths each year.

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is an electrical disturbance in the heart that prevents it from beating properly. During SCA, the ventricles flutter in a phenomenon known as ventricular fibrillation, making them unable to deliver blood to the body. The heart responds by quivering rather than beating normally. Blood flow to the brain is reduced to the point that the person loses consciousness and collapses. Unless emergency treatment is provided quickly, death usually follows. 

Who is at Risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

There are no warning signs associated with SCA.  It often affects those who have experienced previous episodes of SCA, heart attacks, or heart failure, but it can also strike someone with absolutely no history of heart problems. 

Signs that someone has suffered SCA include:

  • Sudden collapse
  • No pulse
  • No breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

Additional symptoms might also include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort
  • Weakness
  • Palpitations

What are SCA Treatment Options?

SCA treatment involves restoring the heart to its normal beating pattern. It’s important to refer to the Chain of Survival, starting with activation of the emergency response system. Immediate high-quality CPR and rapid defibrillation are key to improving survival rate and should be administered within 3-4 minutes of an SCA event.

  • Defibrillation

    Defibrillation can help restore a normal rhythm to the heart. ZOLL® offers many defibrillators for both public safety and hospital use. AEDs allow public access to early defibrillation, whereas monitor/defibrillators are designed for professional use.

  • High-Quality CPR

    Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) helps maintain blood flow to vital organs after an SCA event. High-quality CPR means providing compressions at the proper depth and rate, making sure not to lean on the victim’s chest, and keeping interruptions to a minimum. All ZOLL AEDs include Real CPR Help® technology, which guides the user to provide compressions at the correct depth and rate.

What is the Survival Rate of Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Currently, only about 10% of out-of-hospital victims of sudden cardiac arrest survive. Medical attention must be administered as soon as possible after the victim collapses; the chances for survival decrease 10% with every minute without treatment. Because more than 70 percent of SCA events occur in the home, having an AED in the home could help save a life. The best way to increase the survival rate of SCA is through swift treatment, including immediate CPR and early defibrillation.