Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month 2019

20 Fast Facts to Raise Awareness

Every year in August or September, our team starts talking about Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness month, which is October in the United States. The dilemma we often face is we live Sudden Cardiac Arrest awareness constantly. Our monthly newsletters, frequent blog posts, and resource center articles are centered on trying to get more people aware that sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, at any time, anywhere, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or physical fitness. Of course, there are factors that may increase your risk for SCA, but the truth is there are many people who will go into sudden cardiac arrest today, and never see it coming. Nine out of ten of them will not survive. One lucky individual will come through the ordeal. What may make the difference is someone who knows CPR, recognizes the signs and symptoms of SCA, and intervenes with quality CPR and the use of a defibrillator. Simple, but not so simple.

So what can we do that is above and beyond our daily attempts at bringing awareness to the world? While our newsletter has a fairly broad reach, it’s not nearly as far as we would like. We are asking our readers to help us reach more people by sharing this month’s short facts posts on social media.  We also encourage everyone to browse our blog posts and resource center articles to get more in-depth facts about sudden cardiac arrest and other heart health issues. 

20 Fast Facts about SCA:

  1. Sudden cardiac arrest and heart attack are NOT the same condition. Learn more here:
  2. The only treatment for sudden cardiac arrest is defibrillation, either by an AED, or with a professional defibrillator. They are both equally as effective.
  3. Early, quality CPR increases a patient’s survival chances by 30%. Depth of chest compressions should be between 2” and 2.4”, and the rate should be between 100 and 120 beats per minute – about the same as the song “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.
  4. Only one in 10 people who go into sudden cardiac arrest survive. That means there is a 90% mortality rate. Early CPR and defibrillation increase survival chances.
  5. Over 350,000 people die in the US from SCA each year. Hopefully, those numbers will decrease as awareness and training increase across the country.
  6. SCA can happen any time, to anyone, anywhere regardless of age, ethnicity, gender or physical fitness. It does not discriminate.
  7. Within 4 to 6 minutes of SCA, the oxygen-starved brain of someone in SCA starts to die. CPR keeps oxygenated blood moving to the brain and vital organs. It is a crucial part of survival with neurological recovery.
  8. Ideally, defibrillation should happen NO LATER than 3-5 minutes after the collapse of the victim, and earlier is the best scenario.
  9. On average, it takes 8-10 minutes for an EMS team to reach a victim of SCA, longer in rural areas. Bystander intervention during SCA, before EMS arrives is one of the key steps in the chain of survival. Read more here:
  10. SCA can be caused by a number of factors including genetic predisposition due to an unknown heart defect, choking, electrocution, overdose, extreme physical exertion, obesity, drowning, and Commotio Cordis (a sudden blow to the chest).
  11. AEDs are simple to use and have voice prompts to guide you through a rescue. You do NOT need to be a medical professional to use one.
  12. If you are unsure of how to do rescue breaths, or you are unwilling to do rescue breaths, hands-only CPR is simple to learn and is better than doing nothing. 
  13. Statistics show the more people who are around during a medical emergency, the less likely people are to jump in and help.  ALWAYS jump in and help – you are protected by Good Samaritan laws if something goes sideways. As long as you are acting in good faith and to the best of your abilities, you are protected.
  14. You can do CPR on a dog or cat if your pet is non-responsive and not breathing.
  15. Over 6,000 children under the age of 18 die from sudden cardiac arrest each year. Knowing how to respond to a child in SCA could save a child’s life.
  16. People who have had heart attacks, both known and unknown, have a higher risk for sudden cardiac arrest at a later date.
  17. SCA is the leading cause of death among young athletes, losing one to the condition every 72 hours. 
  18. AEDs do not “jump start” the heart. A heart in fibrillation is quivering instead of beating regularly. An AED sends an electrical signal across the heart to interrupt chaotic rhythms so the heart’s sinus node can restart the heart on its own.
  19. Television and movies have an unusually high rate of success reviving someone using nothing but CPR. In actuality, if someone is truly in sudden cardiac arrest, it would be extremely rare for CPR alone to bring them back. Defibrillation is needed to reset the heart’s rhythm.
  20. The purpose of CPR is not to restart the heart. CPR is meant to keep residual oxygenated blood flowing to the victim’s brain and vital organs to avoid brain and organ damage until an AED or professional defibrillator can be attached and used to treat the patient.

3 Responses to “Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month 2019”

October 16, 2019 at 8:35 am, Vincent Castellano said:

Thanks for the practical information. We’ll use it in out First Aid/CPR/AED class this Friday.


October 17, 2019 at 8:26 am, Charlotte said:

Thank you! I will be upping the game in my classes to make sure that everyone understands the difference in men and women.


October 17, 2019 at 8:52 am, Jaye Pablo said:

I have been an AHA instructor for 24 years and the criteria and compression/breath ratios have changed, the utilization of an AED has made significant changes to the % of saves. But the end result has not changed. If there is no intervention, there will be death. I welcome the “SCA awareness month 2019” I welcome potential life changers and get proactive and stop waiting to be reactive.


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