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Sudden cardiac arrest awareness | Heart Safe Communities | Allina Health
Sudden cardiac arrest
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is usually caused by an electrical malfunction of the heart called ventricular fibrillation.
Ventricular fibrillation causes a quivering of the heart muscle that makes it unable to pump blood through the body. Once the blood stops circulating, a person quickly loses consciousness and the ability to breathe, and will die without effective treatment.
More people die of sudden cardiac arrest than lung cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two sudden cardiac arrest victims share how automated external defibrillators (AEDs) saved their lives.
911 medical dispatcher: Allina Health usually answers about 200 calls per day for our service area, and at least one of those per day is usually a cardiac arrest.
Trauma doctor: Sudden cardiac arrest strikes over 300,000 people in this country out-of-hospital, and only 5 percent survive in most communities. More people die of sudden cardiac arrest than lung cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined. So it's a big problem.
Cub manager: As safety manager for Cub, I'm responsible for all corporate locations, and LLC locations, ensuring safety for our customers during their shopping experience, as well as for our associates during their work day.
Survivor: One of the ladies from the bakery, Kathy was her name, she found me laying in the soap aisle.
Survivor 2: I was refereeing a boys varsity basketball game at Fridley High School and it was about 5 minutes left to go in the game, and without warning, I went down with sudden cardiac arrest.
Doctor: When the heart doesn't beat, it just quivers and vibrates, and doesn't pump any blood and you die very quickly. The use of an automated external defibrillator or AED quickly can shock that heart and reset that heart and make it start beating again and save that person's life.
Fire chief: There's a variety of AEDs out there but they're all pretty basic and designed so someone with very little training can use them.
Survivor 2: somebody grabbed an AED off the wall outside the gymnasium, they put it on me, and one shock and resuscitated me. here I am.
Survivor 1: I was dead there, on the ground. If I wouldn't have gotten some assistance within that timeframe of about 10 minutes or less I would have died.
Doctor: An AED is very simple to use. If you can remember to bring it to the patient and turn it on, the voice tells you what to do. So you turn on the device, you put the electrodes on the chest and it's very easy to see on the AED itself. You can't hurt somebody with an AED, they're already dead. So, when somebody goes down and cardiac arrests, get the AED, start CPR, call 911 and use the AED. Doing CPR on a victim is very important, and it's really easy to do now. You don't even have to do mouth-to-mouth anymore now. You put your hands in the center of the chest and push hard and fast. And if you can remember the tune Staying Alive to the Bee Gees, that's the correct beat you want to use when doing CPR.
Survivor 2: well, a lot of people are afraid to get involved with doing CPR or helping someone that goes down with sudden cardiac arrest. The simple advice I give is you have to do something. You have to respond and try and help.
Doctor: We can make a difference and help save people's lives. Heart Safe Communities is just part of that program involving our hospitals, clinics, ambulance services to bring advanced care out to our communities and save lives.
Announcer: To learn CPR or how to get an AED where you live, work or play, visit us at allinahealth.org/heartsafe.
For more about sudden cardiac arrest,
What is the treatment for sudden cardiac arrest?
The only effective treatment is an electric shock to the heart called defibrillation. The electrical current can interrupt ventricular fibrillation and allow the heart's normal rhythm to regain control.
Defibrillation is most effective if it is applied within three to five minutes into sudden cardiac arrest. With each passing minute, the likelihood of recovery drops about 10 percent. After 10 minutes, one's chance of survival falls to about 2 percent.
While defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator (AED) is important, we also encourage immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If you are hesitant or unwilling to do mouth-to-mouth breathing, immediately begin "hands only" or "compression only" CPR. This can improve the success of the AED and improve chances of survival.
People who survive sudden cardiac arrest have a 30 to 50 percent chance of having a second one. That is why they are often referred to an electrophysiologist, a heart rhythm specialist, to receive an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).
How common is sudden cardiac arrest?
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can happen to anyone, anywhere, any time. Every day in the United States, it strikes about 1,000 people. Tragically, almost all of them die, making SCA a leading causes of death. In fact, some experts commonly refer to it as sudden cardiac death.
Is sudden cardiac arrest the same as a heart attack?
Sudden cardiac arrest is usually caused by ventricular fibrillation, an electrical malfunction of the heart.
A heart attack occurs when plaque or clots block blood flow to the heart. Although the heart continues to beat, irreversible damage to the heart muscle begins within 15 to 30 minutes. The longer the blood flow is interrupted, the more extensive the damage done. Treatment for heart attack includes angioplasty – using a tiny balloon to widen blocked vessels – and 'clot-busting' drugs known as thrombolytics.
Source: American Heart Association; Darren Boser, Lance Stephenson, A Heart for the Community: Public Access Defibrillation and the HeartSave Awareness Program, Access Medical Incorporated 2003
Reviewed by: Charles Lick, MD, medical director, Allina Health Emergency Medical Services
First Published: 05/06/2004
Last Reviewed: 02/19/2007
Ham Lake dad saves son's life on soccer field
Twelve-year-old Tucker Manske was playing soccer for his Andover Middle School team, when he went into full cardiac arrest. The first to run to his rescue was his father Todd, who yelled for someone to go get the AED out of the school. The portable defibrillator device was there thanks to Heart Safe Communities.
Three cardiac arrest survivors meet their heroes
Arleen Meyers, Barbara Stone and Scott Santee -- three sudden cardiac arrest survivors from Buffalo, Minnesota -- thanked the 28 civilians, first responders and Allina Health ambulance crews and dispatchers who played a role in saving their lives this year.
Gene Johnson died September 11, 2002.
Gene Johnson suffered sudden cardiac arrest in the front yard of his home in New Brighton, Minnesota. Today, Johnson is living proof of the importance of a public access AED program. His neighbors kicked off New Brighton's AED fundraising campaign with a heart walk that raised $6,000.
Today, Johnson is living proof of the importance of a public access AED program. His neighbors kicked off New Brighton's AED fundraising campaign with a heart walk that raised $6,000.
The Minnesota SCA Survivor Network has more stories at mnscasurvivor.org.