Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is an enormous healthcare challenge. It is also a condition that is commonly misunderstood. For instance, too often, SCA is confused with a heart attack, potentially leading to reduced awareness of its devastating impact on people of all ages.
SCA’s prevalence and lethality are staggering and can be very eye-opening, particularly for those just learning the issue. For example, did you know that:
- SCA is a leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of over 350,000 people per year in the United States.
- Nearly 90% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are fatal.
- SCA can happen to people of all ages, including children and teens, and even people who appear to be in good health.
- Globally, cardiac arrest claims more lives than colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, influenza, pneumonia, auto accidents, HIV, firearms, and house fires - combined!
- When a person falls into SCA, the two most common arrhythmias are ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. Each of these rhythms is “shockable” with an AED unit.
In addition to the enormous loss of life, SCA has a highly negative impact on the economy:
- The estimated financial impact of cardiac arrest on society is greater than for all individual cancers, with 2 million years of life lost for men and 1.3 million years for women.
Additionally, SCA can impact virtually anyone, including seemingly healthy people.
Since SCA typically strikes without warning, it’s difficult to be vigilant everywhere all the time. For example:
- Approximately 70% of SCAs occur in the home or place of residence, where AEDs are rarely available.
- There are about 10,000 cardiac arrests in the workplace each year in the United States.
- 1 in 25 US high schools can expect to have a SCA event each year.
- Victims of cardiac arrest in gyms & health clubs with an AED have a 93% chance of survival versus 9% chance when no AED is present.
- Research shows that over 50% of people who attend religious services at least once a week are over the age of 50, indicating that the vast majority of people at faith-based organizations are at higher risk of SCA. AEDs need to be readily accessible at faith-based organizations.
What Can You Do Next?
Now that you have a clearer understanding of how big an issue SCA is and how many lives are impacted every day help prepare your community by learning CPR and acquiring an AED.
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