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Spotting Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Spotting Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Since it is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, knowing how to react during a sudden cardiac arrest can be life or death. If a victim is treated within a few minutes, their chance of survival can triple. Here’s what you need to know:

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Different than a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) may occur after a heart attack or during recovery from one. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction that disrupts the pumping of the heart, making it unable to pump blood to your major organs. Seconds later, you lose consciousness, no heartbeat or pulse can be found, and blood flow to the brain stops.

Warning Signs and Risk Factors

Though there might not be a clear warning sign, there are some symptoms that can occur before sudden cardiac arrest hits:

  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations

As you age, your risk for SCA increases. Men are more likely to experience it than women, and certain underlying conditions such as past heart attacks, heart failure, or personal history of an arrhythmia can all increase your risks.

Fast Action is Needed

If spotted early, cardiac arrest can be reversible.

Call 911: Once the heart stops, oxygenate blood is no longer going to the brain, and without proper action, brain damage or death could occur in minutes. If you spot someone who is no longer breathing normally and is unconscious, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Begin CPR: After calling for help, you’ll want to check their breathing and begin CPR immediately. If you are untrained, you’ll want to push hard and fast on the person’s chest, delivering 100 to 120 compressions a minute. Keep doing this until emergency help arrives or a portable defibrillator is available for use.

Cardiac Rehabilitation in Henry County

At Henry County Hospital, your heart health is our top priority. Whether you recently had a heart attack, heart surgery, or need help strengthening your heart, our highly trained staff is here to educate, and answer questions in a safe environment. For more on Henry County’s Cardiac Rehab, visit our website or call us at 415.591.3835.