sudden cardiac arrest

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is not a Heart Attack

What is the difference between a Heart Attack and Sudden Cardiac Arrest

  • A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked.  
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is when the heart malfunctions suddenly and stops beating unexpectedly.


What is SCA

SCA is the condition in which the heart unexpectedly ceases to function. It happens suddenly and without warning. Often this is because of irregular and rapid quivering of the heart's lower pumping chambers (ventricles) called ventricular fibrillation. When this occurs, blood stops flowing to the the brain and other vital organs, causing loss of consciousness or seizure-like activity in seconds. If not treated within minutes, SCA results in death.


What is a Heart Attack

A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked. A heart attack occurs when a blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery begins to die. The longer a person goes without treatment, the greater the damages.


Resuscitation from SCA

The normal rhythm of the heart can only be restored with defibrillation through an electrical shock that is safely delivered to the chest by an automated external defibrillator (AED).


Warnings Signs & Symptoms of SCA

  • Fainting or seizure during or after physical activity
  • Dizziness/Lightheadedness during or after physical activity
  • Fainting or seizure resulting from emotional excitement, emotional distress or from startle
  • Unexplained fainting or seizures
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Unusual fatigue or tiredness
  • Family history of heart disease or the sudden death of a healthy family member under the age of 50


Who is at Risk

  • SCA can strike any person of any age, gender or race, including those that seem in good health and at the peak of physical fitness.
  • Many youth never exhibit any signs or symptoms until SCA occurs.
  • SCA is the leading cause of death in young athletes on school campuses