CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – October is National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month and nine out of ten people can die from SCA, in which survival depends on the people around you and whether or not they call 9/11 or perform CPR.
One emergency center doctor at Conway Medical says the emergency department there sees patients with cardiac arrest on a weekly, or sometimes daily basis.
There are multiple causes for sudden cardiac arrest, but Conway Medical Center Doctor Curtis Armstrong says it can also be caused by a congenital issue you may not be aware of.
Sudden cardiac arrest happens without warning.
“It kills about 300 to 350,000 people a year,” said Dr. Armstrong. That’s ten times the number of those killed in gunshot and auto-related deaths.
It’s when your heart stops, you quit breathing and you lose consciousness.
“It doesn’t really separate between infants, 20-year-olds, 30-year-olds, 40-year-olds, and older adults,” said Dr. Armstrong.
If you have an acute coronary disease or electrical issues like arrhythmia in your heart since birth, those are the most common causes.
“Often times, we don’t know that someone is at risk until they’ve had the event,” said Dr. Armstrong.
If a congenital issue is caught with an EKG before you have sudden cardiac arrest, if that gets treated it may lessen your risk of having SCA before it strikes.
Implantable defibrillator devices can be used to treat someone with SCA after it happens, but in the moment, CPR and the use of a defibrillator can restart the person’s heart.
“In the field, or when it happens, if it’s a persisting issue, in other words, if someone has an acute cardiac arrest and it doesn’t spontaneously resolve, then the chances are very dismal that we’re going to get them back,” Dr. Armstrong said.
If CPR is performed, survival rates can double or triple with sudden cardiac arrest.