- When SCA occurs, the heart stops abruptly and without warning.
- SCA is often caused by the rapid and/or chaotic activity of the
heart known as ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation
(VF), abnormalities of the heart’s electrical conduction system.
- During SCA, the heart fails to pump blood to the vital organs.
- SCA signs include unconsciousness and no breathing.
- For every minute that elapses after SCA, the chances of survival diminish 10 percent.
Sudden cardiac arrest is a public health crisis, striking an estimated 295,000 Americans each year. (Circulation,2010; 121:e46)
- Nationally, 92% of those who suffer SCA die before reaching the
hospital — a rate that hasn’t changed significantly over several
- SCA kills six times more Americans each year than breast cancer. And more than AIDS, lung, breast and prostate cancer combined.
- Your chances of survival fluctuate by as much as 500 percent, depending on where you live in the country. (JAMA,2008;300:1423)
SCA is a treatable disease. Improving survival rates requires measurement and a coordinated community response.
- No single national data collection
standard currently exists to capture incidence and outcomes. Only
through measurement can we make informed decisions and replicate best
- Improved survival rates require a
collective community response by the general public, first responders,
EMS services and in-hospital caregivers.
- Success begins with public bystanders. Communities with higher bystander CPR participation have higher SCA survival rates.
- Eighty percent of SCA events occur in the home.
- Everyone should recognize and know how to call 911, start chest compressions and how to find and use an AED.
- Nichol G, Thomas E, Callaway CW, et al. Regional variation in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence and outcome. JAMA.2008;300(12):1423–31.
- Sasson C. Predictors of survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes.2010;3(1):63-81.
- Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2010 Update. American Heart Association Web site.Accessed October 15, 2010.
- Jemal A, Siegel R, Xu J, et al. Cancer statistics, 2010. CA Cancer J Clin.2010 Jul 7. [Epub ahead of print]
- Centers for Disease Control. HIV prevalence estimates—United States, 2006. MMWR. 57(39), 3 October 2008.
- Harris Interactive Survey conducted on behalf of the American Heart Association, Jan. 8, 2008 through Jan. 21, 2008.