SCA happens when the heart suddenly stops beating, and is different from a heart attack.
Heart health is a key concern for many Americans. According to the American Heart Association, about 90% of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die from it. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death in the U.S, claiming around 325,000 lives each year. One person dies from it every 2 minutes, or 1,000 people per day.
While an attack can come on quickly almost every time, knowing the signs can help you reach professional medical help in time to save a life.
Here are the warning signs of SCA, as state by the Mayo Clinic:
- Sudden collapse
- No pulse
- No breathing
- Loss of consciousness
Sometimes, but not always, other warning signs appear before the arrest, including episodes of chest pain, fatigue, fainting, shortness of breath, blackouts, dizziness, chest pain, weakness, palpitations or vomiting, says the Clinic.
It’s tremendously important that a person who’s experienced SCA get help immediately. With SCA, the heart stops beating, and the brain can only survive without oxygen for 4 to 6 minutes before a person will die from their attack, or experience brain damage.
Your best hope for helping someone is to perform CPR on them until an ambulance arrives.
Push hard and fast on the person’s chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions a minute. You are their heart.
In a public area, look for a portable defibrillator and use it promptly.