SCA can happen to anyone, any age, and anywhere. This is why every building should have an AED. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) affects 1 Canadian every 12 minutes, or about 40 000 people a year. SCA happens when there is an electrical issue with the heart. The heartbeat will stop or be quivering. Cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack because a heart attack is caused by circulatory and other physical problems with the heart. While various cardiac events can happen to healthy individuals at any age, it is becoming increasingly more common that younger employees, students, and athletes are experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
What is SCA?
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) affects 1 Canadian every 12 minutes, or about 40 000 people a year, making SCA among the leading causes of death for Canadians each year. SCA happens when there is a change or stops in the heart’s rhythm. The heartbeat will stop or be quivering or rapid. SCA is different from a heart attack because a heart attack is caused by circulatory and other physical problems with the heart. In the event of SCA, an AED should be used immediately. It is best to use the defibrillator as soon as possible if the patient requires a shock, every minute that passes without one, that patients’ rate of survival and recovery decreases by 10%.
What are the differences: Heart Attack, Stroke, and SCA?
A Heart attack is a circulatory problem when blood flow to the heart is blocked. A stroke is caused by some blockage or ruptured blood vessels in the brain, and sudden cardiac arrest is when there is a change or stops a heartbeat.
What are the warning symptoms of SCA
Often there are no symptoms before an SCA event.
When someone is experiencing cardiac arrest, they may be unconscious and not breathing with little, no, or rapid pulse.
Symptoms of SCA
Rapid or irregular heartbeat or palpitations
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
Fainting after exercise or startle
General chest pain or fatigue or shortness of breath especially
Chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath during exercise or after
Prolonged shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion and chest pain
Rapid or no pulse
Loss of consciousness with shallow or no breathing.
How do you know if you need an AED?
If you find someone unconscious, not breathing and unresponsive, or experiencing the above symptoms before losing consciousness, there is a high chance you will need an AED. It is good practice in any emergency to get an AED if there is one on-site. Many times, there won’t be visible signs of a cardiac episode, especially if the patient is already unconscious.
Can I accidentally use an AED on someone that doesn’t need it?
AED’s are designed only to allow shock in programmed situations. The machine will first analyze the patient’s heartbeat for any irregularities. The AED will only prompt the user to press the shock button if it detects little, rapid, or no heartbeat. If the shock button gets pushed, and the patient does not meet these requirements, the AED will not administer a shock.
How do I get an AED?
The urgent need for easy access to AEDs throughout our province and country has inspired the website you are on, the mission behind it. Operation Heart Heal and Aim For Life have launched a First Aid CPR/AED training program with a bigger purpose. For every full qualifying class, Operation Heart Heal is proud to donate an AED to that building, or another establishment that doesn’t have one.
We are working to provide Canadian Red Cross Certified first aid training to rural communities who don’t have access to first aid training, or emergency equipment such as EMS or AEDs. To find out more and see how you or someone else can get a free AED, contact us today!