What is sudden cardiac arrest?
Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any time; if not treated immediately, it leads to death within minutes. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart’s electrical activity becomes chaotic and unorganized; this dangerous rhythm prevents the heart from pumping blood throughout the body-- quickly starving the brain and other vital organs of life-sustaining oxygen.
Over 350,000 people die in the US every year due to sudden cardiac arrest; a life is lost every two minutes - with roughly 1,000 cardiac deaths occurring each day. The only way to avoid cardiac death is to immediately provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and a shock to the heart using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Because cardiac arrest kills quickly, bystander intervention is critical in determining a victim's chances of survival. When a witness quickly provides CPR, chances of survival more than double. Moreover, delivering an electric shock to the heart using an AED can restore a normal heartbeat. If defibrillation is given within the first four to six minutes, chances of survival can be as high as 95%; however, if treatment is delayed beyond this, 95-98% of victims do not survive. Being ready to respond is key in avoiding cardiac death.
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