SCA Facts

SCA Statistics

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!

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.

Unfortunately, unlike many other injuries and illnesses, SCA is challenging to predict. It commonly strikes without warning, often with its first sign or symptom being a person’s collapse. 


Additionally, SCA can impact virtually anyone, including seemingly healthy people.

  • Cardiac arrest is the #1 cause of death among student-athletes and claims over 9,500 young lives every year.
  • 1 in 12,000 pregnant people admitted for delivery in the United States suffer from Sudden Cardiac Arrest
  • Among adults treated by EMS, 25% had no symptoms before the onset of arrest.

Since SCA typically strikes without warning, it’s difficult to be vigilant everywhere all the time. For example:


This device is currently undergoing FDA review and is not commercially available for sale in the U.S.

people cardiac arrest
people cardiac arrest
Responding to and Treating Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Key Facts About CPR
Key Facts About AEDs

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. 

Together we can empower everyday people to do extraordinary things.

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