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Sudden cardiac arrest should not be confused with a heart attack.
Still, certain diseases or conditions can cause the heart’s electrical system to misfire and lead to SCA. These include:
Some studies have linked SCA to low levels of potassium or magnesium in the body.
Sudden cardiac arrest tends to happen without warning. Usually, the first sign is someone fainting, collapsing or seeming to be lifeless. You may not be able to feel a pulse. It’s critical to call 911 right away.
Recent studies of SCA survivors find that, in some cases, people remember that something didn’t feel quite right beforehand. They recalled:
Another study shows that half of patients ages 35 to 65 had warning signs — mainly chest pain and shortness of breath in the 24 hours before the SCA. Some had warning signs for weeks.
The only effective treatment for SCA is to restore the heart’s normal rhythm by using an AED to deliver a shock to the heart. For every minute that passes without treatment, a person’s chance of surviving drops by 7% to 10%.
People who happen to be in the area during the event play a critical role in saving lives. Their action can mean the difference between life and death.
What to Do?