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The only effective treatment for sudden cardiac arrest, SCA, is as soon as possible to restore the heart’s normal rhythm by using an automated external defibrillator, or 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?

  1. Call 911 or have someone else call if other people are available.
  2. Start CPR at once while waiting for emergency help to arrive.
  3. Ask another person to find the nearest AED. AEDs are portable devices found in EMS vehicles and public places. They give simple instructions and are programmed to identify an electrical problem and shock the heart. They are easy to use by people who aren't health care professionals.  

People who survive an SCA need advanced emergency and cardiac care. Doctors will use basic cardiac testing to identify the cause of SCA, and adjust treatment.

For some patients, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) placed under the skin may be needed. ICDs can detect an abnormal rhythm and send shocks to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat.

  • Last Edited 05/21/2024