Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Image

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the sudden loss of heart function as a result of a malfunction of the heart’s electrical system. SCA is more common in athletes when compared to their non-athlete counterparts because of the increased risk associated with strenuous exercise.

Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest the same as a heart attack?

No. A heart attack is the result of a lack of blood flow to the heart itself because of a blockage to a vessel, not an electrical malfunction. The lack of blood flow to the heart muscle causes the heart to stop beating.

What happens during Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

> The heart stops beating effectively.

> Bloodflow to the brain and other vital organs decreases.

> Oxygen is not delivered to the brain and other vital organs causing the person to faint.

> Normal heart rhythm must be restored within 4 minutes to avoid brain damage and within 10 minutes to avoid death.

What are the most common causes of SCA?

Heart Structure Abnormality is a defect with the structure of the heart.

Electrical Cardiac Abnormality is a malfunction of the electrical system of the heart.

Acquired Cardiac Abnormality is a malfunction of the heart that develops after birth.

Commotio Cordis is a sudden blow or impact to the chest causing an electrical malfunction.

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What are signs you
might see?

+ A teammate looking dizzy, stumbling
+ A teammate suddenly faint/ collapse
+ A teammate having a seizure
+ A teammate suffer a sudden blow to the chest and collapse

What are symptoms
you might feel?

+ Dizziness or lightheadedness during or after physical exercise
+ Chest pain or discomfort during exercise
+ Feeling faint or fainting
+ Racing heart
+ Unusual shortness of breath
+ Tiredness

What might prevent SCA?

+ Know your family history. Ask if there is a history of heart problems.
+ If you are suffering signs and symptoms speak up, tell your doctor.
+ Hydrate before, during and after working out. Get a pre participation physical and ask your doctor about a heart screen.

How can you help reduce the risk of death from SCA?

+ Learn CPR
+ Learn the function of and how to use an AED (automated external
+ Learn where to find an AED on your campus
+ Learn the chain of survival if you see someone collapse:

1. Call 911

2. Assign someone to get an

AED (automated external


3. Begin CPR

4. As soon as the AED

arrives turn it on and

follow the prompts!