National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month starts on October 2nd.
Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States and takes the lives of more than 250,000 people in the United States each year according to the Heart Rhythm Society.

What is it?

Sudden cardiac arrest is often compared to a heart attack, but in reality, the two are very different. Heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. To put it simply, heart attack is a “circulation” failure, while cardiac arrest is an “electrical” failure.

Anyone can experience sudden cardiac arrest including infants, high school athletes, and people in their 30s and 40s who have no sign of heart disease.

Sudden cardiac arrest is extremely deadly, with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute giving the disease a mortality rate of approximately 95%.

Defibrillators (AEDs) save lives!
To have a chance of surviving an attack, the American Heart Association states that victims of sudden cardiac arrest must receive a lifesaving defibrillation within the first four to six minutes of an attack. Every minute that passes without a shock from an automated external defibrillator, the chance of survival decreases by approximately 10%. Lifesaving treatments for sudden cardiac arrest are effective if administered on time.

Joint research by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association has shown that implantable cardioverter defibrillators are 98% effective at protecting people at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Cardio pulmonary resuscitation and early defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator more than double the chances that a victim will survive.

Learn about the risks:

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is often linked with coronary artery disease so the same factors that put you at risk of coronary artery disease can also put you at risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest – such as:

  • A family history of coronary artery disease
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressureHigh blood cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • An inactive lifestyle

African Americans are at a higher risk than the general population for dying as a result of sudden cardiac arrest, yet this fact is not well known to people at risk. There is a need for comprehensive educational efforts designed to increase awareness of sudden cardiac arrest and related therapies among medical professionals and the greater public in order to promote early detection and proper treatment of this disease and to improve quality of life.

For more risk factors, please consult this excellent article from the Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sudden-cardiac-arrest/symptoms-causes/syc-20350634

Share with your friends to create awareness
We support the goals and ideals of National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month in creating awareness and providing access to educational information about the risks of sudden cardiac arrest, identifying warning signs, and the need to seek medical attention quickly.

Links:

Heart Rhythm Society: https://www.hrsonline.org
American Heart Association: https://www.heart.org
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov
America College of Cardiology: https://www.acc.org
110th Congress 2D session provides a PDF copy here: https://www.congress.gov/110/bills/hconres393/BILLS-110hconres393rfs.pdf
Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org

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