(StatePoint) February is American Heart Month, and sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is among the leading killers of Americans. It affects an estimated 359,400 people in the U.S. annually, according to statistics published by the American Heart Association.
SCA survival rates are low, only 8 to 10 percent nationally, with no significant improvement in the last 30 years.
SCA is caused by abnormalities in the heart’s electrical conduction system. There is typically no warning when SCA strikes, but it often occurs as a result of a heart attack.
Survival begins with public bystanders. Immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an automated external defibrillator (AED) can more than double a victim's chance of survival.
If you see someone suddenly collapse, first check to see if the victim is responsive. If not, take these three easy steps:
1. Call 911
2. Start chest compressions to help keep oxygen in the blood circulating throughout the body.
3.Use an AED (automated external defibrillator) to shock the heart back into rhythm.
This heart month, test your life-saving skills and learn more about SCA at www.HeartRescueNow.com.