National Experts Call on the American Public to Recognize Public Health Crisis and Take Action During National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

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Thousands of lives could be saved each year if more people prepare to act against this leading killer, according to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation.

Our growing Survivor Network is a testament to the fact that immediate bystander CPR and defibrillation greatly increases the likelihood of survival from sudden cardiac arrest.

October is National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a public health crisis. It strikes 1,000 people each day in the U.S. alone. Thousands of lives could be saved each year if more people understood the critical importance of bystander intervention with CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation urges the public to take some simple steps to be prepared.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a life-threatening emergency that occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. Usually, there is no warning. It strikes people of all ages who may seem to be healthy, even children and teens. When SCA happens, the person collapses and doesn’t respond or breathe normally. They may gasp or shake as if having a seizure. SCA leads to death in minutes if the person does not get help right away. Survival depends on people nearby calling 911, starting CPR, and using an AED as soon as possible.

Today, only 1 in 10 victims survives. But when bystanders give CPR and use an AED at the scene, as many as 5 in 10 victims survive. And, since sudden cardiac arrest most often occurs at home, laypersons will most likely be called upon to help save the life of a loved one.

Here's what everyone needs to know. Click here for infographic.

Survival from SCA depends on the quick actions of people nearby who call 911, start CPR and use an AED to restart the heart. Specifically, they should:

  • Recognize sudden cardiac arrest. If a person is unresponsive and not breathing normally, assume it is SCA.
  • Call 911 and follow dispatcher instructions.
  • Start CPR. Push hard and fast on the center of the chest at a rate of 100-120 beats per minute (e.g., to the tune of “Baby Shark” or “Staying Alive”).
  • Use the nearest AED as quickly as possible to restart the heart.

“Our growing Survivor Network is a testament to the fact that immediate bystander CPR and defibrillation greatly increases the likelihood of survival from sudden cardiac arrest,” said Mary Newman, MS, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation president. “And, since most cardiac arrests occur in the home, taking time to learn CPR and how to use an AED could mean the difference between life and death for a loved one.”

About the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation
The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation is a national community benefit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to raising awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and saving lives. Programs include the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Network, an online community that provides peer support and opportunities for survivors and loved ones to participate in awareness, advocacy, and research initiatives. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation is a proud co-sponsor of the CallPushShock movement. For more information, resources and access to national experts, visit https://www.sca-aware.org. #YouCanSaveALife #CallPushShock #ScaAwarenessMonth

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Carissa Caramanis
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Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation
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