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What are the Signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
A person suffering SCA immediately loses consciousness. The affected person does not have a pulse and signs of breathing are not present.
What are the Risk Factors?
An individual may be at risk if he/she has a family history of heart disease, smokes, drinks too much alcohol, has high blood pressure or high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes. The chance of experiencing sudden cardiac arrest is increased with age, especially after age 45 for men and 55 for women. A person may be at risk for SCA if he/she has or is currently experiencing any of the following:
Early Diagnosis and Screening
Although sudden cardiac arrest cannot be anticipated, there are several steps and invasive and non-invasive tests to determine if someone is at risk:
While there are factors contributing to sudden cardiac arrest that cannot be controlled, there are preventative measures that can help reduce the chances of suffering sudden cardiac arrest:
Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a medical, mobile device used to check an individual's heart rhythm. An AED also recognizes when a person's heart rhythm needs a shock and advises the rescuer that the patient's heart needs a shock. Typically, an AED is used when a person suffers from cardiac arrest and the heart's activity is disrupted or unusually fast (ventricular tachycardia) or irregular (arrhythmia). A normal resting heart rate is 60 - 100 beats per minute.
Today, AEDs may be found in common community locations including police and emergency vehicles, shopping centers, office buildings, sports arenas, schools and airplanes. Most cardiac arrests occur in private homes where AEDs are not readily available. Keeping an AED in private homes is greatly encouraged, as it has proven to save thousands of lives.
How Does an AED Work?
An AED is an emergency, portable device. It offers step-by-step voice-automated instructions to guide a user through the process. The rescuer places electrode pads on the person's chest, and the AED measures the heart rhythm. The AED will determine whether or not the patient's heart needs a shock. If the patient requires a shock, the AED will instruct the user to push the button that sends the shock.
1. Call 9-1-1
2. Begin Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
3. Use an AED
4. Receive advanced care - paramedic assistance
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