Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

SCA usually causes brain injury if it’s not treated within 3 minutes, and death if  its not treated within 5 minutes if a combination of chest compresssions (CPR) and defibrillation do not occur.

What is ventricular fibrillation?

Ventricular fibrillation is the fatal rhythm that causes sudden cardiac arrest. The heart instantly goes from a normal heart rhythm to a chaotic rhythm called ventricular fibrillation. When the heart goes into VF, the pulse and blood pressure is instantly lost and the person loses consciousness in a few seconds. The only effective treatment is an electric shock across the chest and through the heart. A shock, if delivered in time, can convert the fatal rhythm of VF back to a normal heart rhythm. An AED is a device that automatically analyses the heart’s rhythm and can deliver a shock if VF is present.

SCA Key Facts & Statistics in Australia

  • It is estimated in Australia, around 30,000 people a year die as a result of sudden cardiac arrest.
  • This makes it the No.1 cause of death ahead of cancer and strokes.
  • Average Ambulance Response Times are 15-16 minutes in most metropolitan areas.
  • It is estimated that 95 percent of victims of cardiac arrest die before they reach a hospital or other source of emergency help.This figure could be considerably lower if, workplaces, public facilities and private households were also equipped with an automatic defibrillator.
  • This allows first aid providers with no prior medical training to use hand compressions to become instant lifesavers.Easy access to AEDs in public is essential to constantly prevent people dying of SCA.