Sudden Cardiac Arrest (or SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.
When the heart’s electrical system malfunctions, it causes heartbeat rhythms that are rapid (ventricular tachycardia), chaotic (ventricular fibrillation) or both. This means that rather than pumping blood around your body like a healthy heart, your heart muscle quivers or fibrillates. Vital organs are immediately deprived of oxygen, causing the victim to collapse. Your heart simply and suddenly stops.
Urgent treatment is required to get the blood moving around the body and try to restart the heart.
If not treated in minutes, Sudden Cardiac Arrest usually causes death.
The data will tell you that of the 30,000 out-of-hospital SCAs that happen each year, 85% of victims die. It doesn’t discriminate – it’s not your age, it’s not your fitness level, and it’s not your background. It can happen to anyone and it happens suddenly – often without warning.
It’s a topic we don’t want to talk about – but we should because it can happen at any time. The good news is Sudden Cardiac Arrest can be arrested and the best chance of survival following an arrest is with the urgent use of a defibrillator.
Currently less than half of people who suffer a Sudden Cardiac Arrest in the community have someone step in to do CPR or use an AED before an ambulance arrives. For every minute that passes without CPR and AED the chance of survival drops by 10%.
What should you do when Sudden Cardiac Arrest strikes?
The Chain of Survival is a victim’s best chance of survival
An internationally recognised standard, the Chain of Survival is the process needed to resuscitate a victim of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, get help and apply a defibrillator. The victim’s chances of survival diminish every minute they have to wait for defibrillation, so starting the process immediately and having access to a nearby defibrillator can be the difference between life and death.
What is the Chain of Survival?
- Recognise that the victim is suffering a Sudden Cardiac Arrest
- Call 000 immediately
- Perform CPR
- Apply a defibrillator as soon as practical
- Paramedics provide advanced medical care on arrival at the scene
- Transport patient to hospital
How do defibrillators work?
When someone has a Sudden Cardiac Arrest, their heart can start quivering, effectively stopping the supply of blood to your body. A defibrillator passes a powerful electric shock through the heart to shock it into working again.
Automatic External Defibrillators like the ones you can purchase in our online store are small computerised devices that analyse your heart rhythms to provide a shock automatically. They only activate when necessary, eliminating the risk of a user error. They can be used anywhere by anyone to administer a life-saving shock with audio and visual prompts to guide first responders through the necessary steps.
If no defibrillator is available to shock your heart into pumping again, your brain loses its oxygen supply. In just 5 minutes, the impact can be devastating and irreversible. With such a small window for revival, immediate access to a life-saving defibrillator should be a safety priority for community centres, schools, workplaces and sporting clubs.
The only thing that restarts the heart is a shock from a defibrillator.
Would your loved ones have access to a defibrillator in the event of SCA?
Does your workplace have a Defibrillator?
Does your school have a Defibrillator?
Does your Community have a Defibrillator?
Does your Sporting Club have a Defibrillator?
Be a part of the movement to save lives and join the Defib for Life Red Team!
The key to saving victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest is education. The more people who understand that a defibrillator is as critical as a fire extinguisher, the more lives will be saved.
Join the Red Team to receive monthly emails with valuable information about Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Australia, grants and funding opportunities, and touching stories of survival to share with your loved ones.