Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Requires Immediate Action for Survival

Before we tie the final red ribbon around our Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness month package next week, we thought we’d take a moment to review why response time is so critical to SCA survival rates.

More than 356,000 adults die each year after suffering an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) and with each minute that goes by, the chance of survival drops by a startling 7-10%. 

“Time-to-treatment is critical when considering the chance of survival for an SCA victim. 95% of those who experience SCA die because they do not receive life-saving defibrillation within four to six minutes, before brain and permanent death start to occur” (Heart Rhythm Society).

But it doesn’t have to be this way! We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again and again: AEDs (automated external defibrillators) and CPR saves lives. 

Know How to Respond During a Cardiac Emergency

AED use and timely CPR can increase the chance of survival by nearly 45% (American Heart Association) and understanding the five links in the adult OHCA Chain of Survival can Improve Survival Outcomes.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the 5 links in the adult out-of-hospital Chain of Survival are:

  • Recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
  • Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with an emphasis on chest compressions
  • Rapid defibrillation
  • Basic and advanced emergency medical services
  • Advanced life support and post-cardiac arrest care

Start CPR Immediately

Once you’ve dialed 911 or have asked another bystander to do so, begin CPR. Immediate CPR is crucial for treating sudden cardiac arrest. By maintaining a flow of oxygen-rich blood to the body’s vital organs, CPR can provide a vital link until more-advanced emergency care is available” (Mayo Clinic).

If you’re not CPR certified, the 911 operator should be able to assist you. If there’s no pulse and the victim is not breathing, you’ll want to begin pushing hard and fast on the victim’s chest — at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute (check out our CPR playlist, Greatest Hits to Save Lives), allowing the chest to fully rise between compressions.

Continue performing CPR until an AED becomes available or emergency medical personnel arrive on the scene.

Begin Defibrillation As Soon as Possible

AEDs do more than deliver a shock to the heart to provide an opportunity for the heart’s natural rhythm to resume, they also walk you through the steps of high-performance CPR.  

AEDs are programmed to recognize ventricular fibrillation and send a shock only when it’s appropriate. Portable defibrillators are increasingly available in public places, such as airports, shopping malls, schools, office buildings, casinos, health clubs, and community and senior citizen centers.

Continue performing CPR and monitoring the patient with an AED until medical professionals can take over.

For more information about purchasing a new or recertified AED or to schedule an AED training or First Aid and CPR training, contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. We also welcome your emails, you can reach us at [email protected].

DISCLAIMER: Information and resources found on the and websites/blogs is intended to educate, inform, and motivate readers to make their health and wellness decisions after consulting with their healthcare provider. The authors are not healthcare providers. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.