The leading cause of death in the United States is Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), which claims the lives of over 350,000 people every year. That’s an average of one death every 90 seconds. While those who have already experienced a heart attack are more likely to be victims of SCA, it can affect anyone without discrimination. Children, infants, teens, young adults, and adults with no sign of heart disease have all been victims of this deadly experience. In fact, according to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, “more than 7,000 youth under the age of 18 experience SCA each year in the US.”
So what IS SCA?
Simply put, the American Heart Association describes Sudden Cardiac Arrest as “the abrupt loss of heart function.” SCA is different than a heart attack. While a heart attack is frequently compared to a “plumbing problem” with the heart, SCA is likened more to an “electrical problem”. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. Seconds later, a person loses consciousness and has no pulse. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment.
Why is SCA Awareness important?
95% of people who experience SCA will not receive the immediate treatment necessary to save their lives. Within minutes of the heart stopping, blood and oxygen depletion will begin to cause damage to the brain and other vital organs. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be used to circulate blood and oxygen through the body until an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) arrives, but an AED must be used to restart normal heart rhythm. Every minute that passes without a shock from an AED decreases chances of survival by 10%.
It is therefore imperative that more people be trained in CPR, and AED’s must become more common and easy to find. A report from the Journal of American Heart Association breaks down the necessity of public awareness in increasing the survival rate of SCA:
One important approach is the implementation of strategies to increase public awareness about the issues associated with sudden cardiac arrest. It is not clear that the public understands the scope of this problem… In addition to public awareness, avenues to increase CPR‐AED education of the public are critical to increase bystander CPR and AED use and improve survival. Partnership with the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and other professional and advocacy organizations can increase training.
It becomes apparent that improving the survival rate for SCA is a community endeavor. We must be willing to act swiftly and efficiently to save the lives of friends, family, and strangers alike, which means we must be willing to educate ourselves. There are two basic steps we can all take to ensure that more victims of SCA are given a greater chance of survival:
1- Easier access to AED’s. When you are in public spaces, be on the lookout for where the AED is located. Signs like the one to the right mark their locations, but in the panic of an emergency, can be difficult to find. Take a look at our recent blog on AED’s to learn more. Encourage local businesses who aren’t equipped with an AED to get one. SCA can strike anywhere at any time, and AED’s are imperative to survival. It’s also recommended to get one of these devices for your home. The majority of SCA’s occur at home (65%), so being prepared, especially if a family member is more at-risk, is the best defense. Contact Safety & Health solutions for information on how to provide your home or business with an affordable and high-quality AED.
2- CPR training. This is the most important step you can take to help save lives. CPR has many applications, such as in drowning, electric shock, or choking cases, but is utterly necessary in the case of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Minutes – even seconds – matter when a person experiences SCA, and the application of high-quality CPR can nearly triple a victim’s chances of survival. That means that every person trained in CPR increases the likelihood of an SCA victim receiving life-saving care while waiting for emergency services to arrive.
Safety & Health Solutions provides high quality CPR and AED training for everyone. Teachers, nannies, parents, coaches, and anyone living with someone with a heart condition are among the most likely to need CPR certification, but any average person may be faced with the challenge to save a life on a normal day in public. Preparation is key, and quality matters. Our instructors are medical professionals at the top of their fields, and our courses are fun, engaging, and easily accessible. We provide training in small classes at our facility, as well as group classes on-location for large groups. We’re excited to provide you, your family, or your whole workplace with CPR certification, because every class taught is potentially another life saved. Schedule your class today!