Sudden cardiac arrest or SCA as it is commonly called is one of the major causes of death in India. As per a study conducted by WHO, approximately 4280 out of every one lakh people die every year from SCA in India.
What exactly is a sudden cardiac arrest?
A sudden loss of heart function, consciousness, and breath which leads to obstruction of blood flow to the rest of the body is known as sudden cardiac arrest. If not treated immediately, this could lead to sudden cardiac death.
Read on to know some shocking facts about sudden cardiac arrest:
- About 90% of people who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest do not survive and die before they reach a hospital or medical care.
- SCA takes more lives than AIDS, breast cancer, lung cancer, or stroke.
- Most cases of SCA are caused by congestive heart failure. This is due to cardiovascular disease, where there is an accumulation of fat deposits on the walls of the blood vessels. This leads to narrowing of the vessel thickness, and reduced blood supply to the various parts of the body. When the blood supply is significantly reduced, there is a heart attack. A similar blood supply cut off to the brain would lead to stroke.
- SCA is often seen in patients who have had a prior heart attack. There are, however, patients who seem quite healthy and suffer a SCA. These people may never be diagnosed of their underlying heart disease and may not know that they have a serious problem.
- Most cases of SCA can be managed by giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the right time. This helps keep oxygen supply intact until proper medical help arrives. It is quite easy for people to get trained on CPR, which can help save the life of a stranger or a family member. Given by someone who is near the individual who is having the attack, this is also known as bystander CPR.
- It has been proven that bystander CPR improves the rate of survival by almost 50%. It also reduces neurologic complications when done immediately.
- Silent cardiac arrests often occur when there is no visible exertion.
- SCA are often seen in patients who have had myocardial ischemia (cut off of blood supply to the heart) and there is often no associated chest pain in these cases. The only symptom could be breathlessness, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, and loss of consciousness.
- Most heart attacks occur at home, and have a high chance of being ignored. There is a high chance of recurrence, and statistics indicate that less than 2% people survive if they suffer a repeat attack within a month.
- SCA is more often seen in the elderly, diabetic, and women population.