Little Facts About Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)
Most people know Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) as one of the major causes of mortality in the US. As the name implies, SCA rarely gives the patient enough time to realize what is happening. Because of the suddenness of the situation, most people are unaware of what to do, eating up previous minutes that could have been used in order to revive the victim. That being the case, it is only right that you arm yourself with the right information that you can use in better dealing with this medical emergency.
First thing’s first. You have to realize that Sudden Cardiac Arrest is different from a heart attack. While both affect the heart, Sudden Cardiac Arrest generally takes place if something causes the heart beat to become irregular. There are, however, other reasons for why it happen including injury and rupturing of the blood vessels in the heart. On the other hand, a heart attack typically takes place when an artery is clogged and there is not enough blood reaching the heart. This causes the heart to starve which, in turn, causes it to have trouble pumping blood properly. Because it happens over time, a heart attack typically leaves tell-tale signs – pain in the chest, difficulty breathing, and a tingling pain that spreads throughout the limbs.
While heart problems typically concern adults, there have been cases of teenagers and even children who have succumbed to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. This is typically the case if the child happens to have a congenital heart condition such as arrhythmia and long Q-T Syndrome. In a long Q-T Syndrome, the patient has ion channels that either do not work well or are insufficient causing the transmittal of the electric impulses that control the heart beat to become erratic; thus, an irregular beating pattern. Now, even though most cases of Long Q-T syndrome are congenital, there are some that have actually developed the said condition through the years due to unhealthy leaving. You have to keep in mind that a disruption in the beating pattern can cause the heart to stop pumping. Four to six minutes after the heart has stopped pumping, the patient’s brain tissue would start dying. A few minutes more and the effects could become irreversible. At this point, even if the patient is able to pull through, there could be damage to his movements and brain activities. If there is no help given within the next few minutes, the patient would already succumb and die.
If at least chest compression is done on an unconscious victim of SCA, the chances of him or her being able to survive almost doubles. The numbers could even go up in the case of a VF (ventricular fibrillation) patient if electric shock is applied as soon as his or her condition has been ascertained. It is in cases like these that the use of an AED can prove to be important.
To be better prepared when handling patients who have suffered from SCA, it is a good idea to have an AED unit on hand. If you are not sure how to work with your AED unit, head to Citywide CPR and they could help you with your AED management.