FACTS ABOUT SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST
What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is when the heart rhythm becomes chaotic - it usually happens when there has been a distubance in your heart's pumping action and it prevents blood flowing to your brain and other vital organs. SCA will result in death if it is not treated within minutes of it occuring.
Is a Sudden Cardiac Arrest the same thing as a Heart Attack?
No - heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest are NOT the same thing. A heart attack can LEAD TO or CAUSE a sudden cardiac arrest, but they are different physiological events.
How do you know if someone is having a Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
The symptoms of a sudden cardiac arrest are IMMEDIATE - hence the use of the word "SUDDEN" in the name of the event. These symptoms include:
Who can suffer a Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
Anyone, anywhere at any time can suffer a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. There are risk factors that may predispose someone to being more at risk, but sometimes, there is no way of knowing. A person may look fit, healthy, and athletic, but they may still suffer an SCA.
How prevalent is SCA in Australia?
Sudden Cardiac Arrest kills around 27,000 Australians EACH YEAR - that is around 74 people per day dying from a cardiac arrest.
What is the survival rate from SCA?
The survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is only 10%. That means, that for every 1 person that survives an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, 9 DIE!
What factors can help increase survival of SCA?
Emergency response times (currently around 8-12 minutes in Australia) greatly affect the survival rate of SCA patients. If someone witnesses an SCA, the chance of surviving the SCA jumps to 23%. Other contributing factors will include how effective the Chain of Survival is - that is, how quickly the event is recognised, how rapidly EMS teams are called, how well CPR is performed, and whether or not there is a defibrialltor (AED) to revert the patient's heart rhythm if it can be shocked.
Why are AED's (defibrillators) so important?