> Fact Sheets
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
- A young athlete dies every three days either in-game or during practice/workouts from SCA.
- More than 325,000 Americans die each year from sudden cardiac arrest, thousands of them are children. According to the Pediatric Clinic of North America, SCA kills 7,000 – 10,000 children each year.
- SCA kills 1,000 people a day or one person every two minutes.
- SCA most often occurs in children ages 10 – 19 and affects males four times more than females however it can occur without respect to age, race or gender. SCA occurs during exercise more than 60% of the time.
- Seventy-five percent of SCA deaths in children occur on school property.
- SCA is usually caused by a previous undiagnosed congenital or acquired heart disorder, and can cause death if emergency care is not immediately available.
- SCA is not a heart attack – it is a condition in which the heart stops abruptly and unexpectedly and no longer pumps blood. A heart attack results from a loss of blood supply to the heart muscle, causing heart muscle tissue to die. A heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest from ventricular fibrillation (VF).
- SCA occurs when there is a sudden loss of electrical heart function that is caused by VF, an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system that causes the heart to quiver and blood flow to the body and brain to stop. The causes of SCA can be genetic or acquired (caused by a viral illness or sudden blow to the chest).
- Most common causes of SCA include Primary Structural Heart Defects and Primary Electrical Heart Diseases; as well as other causes such as a blunt blow to the chest at a certain time during the heart cycle, drugs or medications that affect the electrical system of the heart, Kawasaki Disease with coronary aneurysms and Myocarditis (an inflammation of the heart).
Automated External Defibrillators
- Children and adolescents who experience SCA with ventricular fibrillation can often be successfully treated with an Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). AEDs are portable, automated devices that look for shockable heart rhythms and deliver a defibrillator shock if needed.
- Estimates conclude that widespread availability and use of AEDs could save as many as 50,000 Americans each year.
- For every minute that passes without defibrillation, a victim’s change of survival decreases 10%. On average, it takes Emergency.
- Management Service teams in the U.S. 6 to 12 minutes to arrive at an emergency scene.
- Not all rescues involving an AED are successful, but when they are deployed widely and used quickly, a survival rate of 74% or greater has been reported if defibrillation treatment is administered within the first 3 – 5 minutes of a SCA victim’s collapse. Using CPR alone only has a 3% to 5% survival rate.
- Public Access Defibrillation programs are important in reducing SCA among children and adolescents. AEDs need to be placed in public locations where people work or gather, including schools, gyms, recreation centers, etc.