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Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

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The following was provided by the office of Rep. Brad Jones, Jr.

October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Awareness Month. SCA claims one life every two minutes and each year, more than 250,000 deaths occur from SCA. I wanted to take a moment to share with you the symptoms and warning signs of SCA to better understand how to respond and prevent SCA from occurring.

What is SCA?

Cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of cardiac function, when the heart abruptly stops beating. When this happens, a person loses consciousness and their pulse and blood pressure will be absent. The most common cause of SCA is Ventricular fibrillation. This is when the normal electrical activation of the heart muscle contraction is replaced by a chaotic electrical activity which causes the heart to stop beating and pumping blood to the brain.

Causes

SCA is most often caused by heart diseases. Blood clots, congestive heart failure, and a faulty electrical conducting system place individuals at a higher risk for rhythm disturbances and cardiac arrest. Exercise, though unlikely, can decrease blood flow, irritating the heart muscle and cause ventricular fibrillation. The at-risk population is males older than 40 years old that smoke, have high blood pressure, and/or diabetes, however anyone can suffer from SCA.

Symptoms

In sudden cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating. Because blood is no longer supplied to the body, there is an immediate loss of consciousness with no pulse or signs of breathing. A person experiencing SCA will pass out and be unresponsive.

Treatment of SCA

  1. Know the signs of SCA in order to react quickly.
  2. Call 911 as soon as possible.
  3. Start Hands Only- CPR as quickly as possible.
  4. Use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) if one is available.

CPR education, proper use of AED’s, and 911 emergency services calls will dramatically increase SCA survival rates. Treatment must occur within 4-6 minutes. Otherwise, an individual is at high risk of some permanent brain damage given the brains sensitivity to a lack of oxygen and blood flow.

I hope that you find this information helpful in raising awareness for the dangers of SCA. It is important to understand the causes and symptoms of SCA in order to rapidly perform the steps of effective treatment. If you would like to learn more about SCA or have any questions regarding preventative measures or treatment, I encourage you to contact your primary care physician.

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