October is National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month. Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is when the heart unexpectedly stops beating, stopping blood from flowing to the brain and other vital organs.
SCA is NOT the same thing as a heart attack. A heart attack is a malfunction of the heart muscle caused by a sudden blockage in the coronary artery, whereas a SCA is the result of an electrical disturbance in the heart which can lead to sudden cardiac death.
What are causes/risk factors for sudden cardiac arrest?
- Heart attacks
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Enlarged heart
- Valvular heart disease
- See full list here
The most vital preventative measure of SCA is getting a sudden death screening on a regular basis and controlling risk factors.
Sudden Death Screening is a test that looks at the electrical activity of the heart to understand the potential risks of cardiac tachyarrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) which can lead to SCA.