Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. SCA usually causes brain injury if it’s not treated within 3 minutes and death if it’s not treated within 5 minutes.
SCA Key Facts & Statistics in Europe
In Europe, around 300,000 people a year die as a result of sudden cardiac arrest. This makes it the No.1 cause of death ahead of cancer and strokes. SCA kills 1,000 people a day or one person every two minutes in Europe, and most often occurs in patients with heart disease, especially those who have congestive heart failure and have had a heart attack.
It is estimated that 95 percent of victims of cardiac arrest die before they reach a hospital or other source of emergency help. This figure could be considerably lower if public facilities and private households were also equipped with an automatic defibrillator.
This allows first aid providers with no prior medical training to use simple hand compressions to become instant lifesavers. Easy access to AEDs in public is essential to constantly prevent people dying of SCA.
Chain of Survival
To increase the chance of successful resuscitation following SCA, requires an integrated set of coordinated, sequential actions represented by a chain of links. This is known as the Chain of Survival.
- Immediate recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
- Early CPR with an emphasis on chest compressions
- Rapid defibrillation
- Effective advanced life support
- Integrated post—cardiac arrest care