Sudden Cardiac Arrest For Tachycardia

Approximately 475,000 Americans die from cardiac arrest each year1

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Watch Steve's Story

Steve suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while golfing with his daughter and received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Watch the video to hear his story.

What are the Symptoms of SCA?

  • Dizziness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Loss of consciousness

Immediate Action Saves Lives

Survival rates can double or triple if more people take action and know how to respond in the case of an SCA1:

  1. Call 911.
  2. Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  3. If available, use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to provide an electronic shock to the heart within minutes.

SCA Versus Heart Attack

Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack.

Think of your house: It needs plumbing and electricity to work as it should — and it has the potential for both plumbing and electrical problems. The same can happen with your heart. A heart attack is primarily a plumbing (blood flow) problem; SCA is an electrical (heart rhythm) problem.

pdf Sudden Cardiac Arrest versus Heart Attack Poster (.pdf)

View this informational poster to learn more about the differences between a heart attack and SCA.

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What are the Risk Factors for SCA?

  • Previous heart attack or SCA
  • Family history of SCA or other heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Low ejection fraction
  • Rapid or abnormal heartbeats starting in the bottom chambers of the heart

Do You Know Your Ejection Fraction (EF)?

Why is knowing your ejection fraction important?

Ejection fraction is a measurement of the percentage of blood pumped (or ejected) from the left ventricle in your heart with each beat. Understanding how well your blood is pumping can help your doctor diagnose and track heart failure and determine the right course of treatment for you.  

If you are someone with a heart condition, it's important to know your ejection fraction. Ask your physician about your ejection fraction.

What Does This Measurement Mean?

  • 50–75%: Heart's pumping ability is normal2
  • 36–49%: Heart's pumping ability is below normal2
  • 35% and below: Heart's pumping ability is low2

Treating SCA Through Defibrillation

The most effective way to treat SCA is through defibrillation. It involves delivering an electrical shock to your heart to restore the normal heartbeat. There are two types of devices that can deliver these electrical shocks: AEDs and ICDs.
Automated external defibrillator illustrated in blue on a white background

AED

An AED is a portable device used by emergency response teams or the general public to shock the heart — giving the heart a chance to restart normal electrical activity and resume beating effectively. 

Illustration of an anatomically correct heart

ICD

An ICD is likely to be recommended for long-term treatment of irregular rhythms and prevention of SCA. The small, battery-powered device is surgically placed below the collarbone. One or more thin wires (leads) from the ICD run through the veins to the heart. The device constantly monitors the heart's rhythm so it can regulate the heart rate if it detects an irregular rhythm. It can send either high-energy shocks or low-energy, painless pacing stimulation to disrupt a dangerously fast heart rhythm.3

Patient Resources

pdf Discussion Guide for Patients: Arrhythmias (.pdf)

Download this checklist to begin a conversation with your physician about your heart health.

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pdf Are You at Risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest? (.pdf)

Download this SCA patient brochure for more information on the symptoms and risks of SCA.

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References

1

American Heart Association. CPR Facts & Stats. Available at: https://cpr.heart.org/en/resources/cpr-facts-and-statsAccessed June 4, 2021.

2

Solomon SD, Anavekar N, Skali H, et al. Influence of ejection fraction on cardiovascular outcomes in a broad spectrum of heart failure patients. Circulation. December 13, 2005;112(24):3738-3744.

3

Mayo Clinic. Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Diagnosis & Treatment. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sudden-cardiac-arrest/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350640. Accessed June 22, 2021.