Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a sudden and unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. When it happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs, and the person will die if appropriate resuscitation is not given within minutes. And what makes it worse is that this typically happens without any warning signs.
Ultimately, SCA can happen to people of all ages and in all places. This means that if there are proper procedures and treatment available, many lives can be saved. On the other hand, this also means that many lives are at risk if people are unprepared.
Who could be struck by SCA?
There are various factors that may put you at risk. For example, a family history of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure/cholesterol, an unhealthy lifestyle, obesity, diabetes, age (study shows that the incidence of SCA grows with age), and gender (men have a higher chance of SCA than women) can put people at risk of SCA.
What to do when SCA happens?
- Call for emergency service
- Check the breathing. If the person lost breathing and his hearts stopped, begin CPR and ask other bystanders to fetch an AED (Automated External Defibrillator)
- Give CPR by pushing hard and fast on the person’s chest at a rate of 100-120 times per minute. Give 2 breaths after every 30 compressions.
- Use an AED. Apply the electrode pads on the patient’s bare chest and follow the voice instructions step by step.
- Keep compressing until paramedics arrive.