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Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA): Treatments

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. SCA usually causes death if it's not treated within minutes.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Treatments for Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is an emergency. A person having SCA needs to be treated with a defibrillator right away. This device sends an electric shock to the heart. The electric shock can restore a normal rhythm to a heart that's stopped beating.

To work well, defibrillation must be done within minutes of SCA. With every minute that passes, the chances of surviving SCA drop rapidly.

Police, emergency medical technicians, and other first responders usually are trained and equipped to use a defibrillator. Call 9-1-1 right away if someone has signs or symptoms of SCA. The sooner you call for help, the sooner lifesaving treatment can begin.

Automated External Defibrillators

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are special defibrillators that untrained bystanders can use. These portable devices often are found in public places, such as shopping malls, golf courses, businesses...Read more about Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Treatments
NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Should health care providers arriving at scene of a cardiac arrest give a period of chest compressions first before providing a rapid electric shock

Out‐of‐hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a major cause of death worldwide. Cardiac arrest occurs when the rhythm of the heart becomes disorganized and the heart becomes ineffective at pumping blood to the rest of the body. Prolonged periods of reduced oxygen to the brain can cause permanent damage. Cardiac arrest can be caused by, but is different from, a heart attack (myocardial infarction).

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Summaries for consumers

Should health care providers arriving at scene of a cardiac arrest give a period of chest compressions first before providing a rapid electric shock

Out‐of‐hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a major cause of death worldwide. Cardiac arrest occurs when the rhythm of the heart becomes disorganized and the heart becomes ineffective at pumping blood to the rest of the body. Prolonged periods of reduced oxygen to the brain can cause permanent damage. Cardiac arrest can be caused by, but is different from, a heart attack (myocardial infarction).

More about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA): Treatments

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Other terms to know:
Automated External Defibrillator (AED), Cardiac, Heart

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