You may be thinking, “Why me?” or “Why us?” But SCA does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, at any time, in any place. People of all ages have experienced SCA:
What is important to remember is that you and your loved ones are not alone. Many others have survived, and they want to help you survive too.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is when, for many possible reasons, your heart stops beating properly and no longer supplies blood to your vital organs. In many cases, it is associated with a heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation—where your heart’s electrical activity becomes disorganized, causing the heart muscle to stop pumping properly. Sudden cardiac arrest is often reversible with a defibrillation—a jolt of electricity that shocks your heart, causing it to restart properly. But if victims of SCA do not receive help within minutes—CPR, defibrillation, and advanced medical support—they rarely survive.
While a heart attack, which is a blockage of blood flow in one of the arteries that supplies oxygen to the heart, can cause sudden cardiac arrest, the two are not the same thing. Because SCA is often caused by heart attacks, survivors are often sent to the cardiac catheterization laboratories, or cath lab, to have their coronary arteries checked. But there are several other possible causes of SCA, including genetic cardiac abnormalities and drug or medication use. Some cardiac arrest survivors never find out exactly what led to their arrest.