What is SCA?
Sudden Cardiac Arrest is not a heart attack. It’s an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system that abruptly stops the heartbeat. It’s fatal in 92 percent of cases if not properly treated within minutes. Among teens in the U.S., 1 in 100 have an underlying heart condition that can put them at risk.
When SCA happens, the person collapses and doesn’t respond or breathe normally. They may gasp or shake as if having a seizure.
It’s not as rare as you may think:
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in the U.S., taking the lives of 356,000 people annually. But what most parents don’t know is that SCA is the #1 killer of student-athletes and contributes to the #2 medical cause of death among youth under age 25.
The underlying cause of SCA is often an electrical or structural heart abnormality that you’re born with. It is often inherited and can develop as young hearts grow. SCA can also be triggered by a viral illness or a blow to the chest from an object or a person.
Warnings Signs of a Potential Heart Abnormality
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
Unusual shortness of breath
Unusual fatigue or tiredness
Sometimes there aren't any symptoms.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest vs. Heart Attack.
Know the Difference!
People often use these terms interchangeably, but they are not the same. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. A heart attack is a “circulation” problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem.