The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) in Washington, DC, an organization dedicated to improving the care of patients by advancing research, education, and optimal health care policies and standards, has put together an informative webpage in honor of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Awareness Month.
Their “Apples and Oranges” campaign is a catchy reminder not to confuse two very different heart health situations. Earlier this year, we did a blog on the difference between SCA and a heart attack, but it’s worth a quick reminder here. As HRS explains it:
“The heart’s electrical system is what is affected when SCA occurs. During SCA, the heart stops beating and no blood is pumped to the rest of the body. This could be compared to losing electricity in your house. The heart “electricity” must be turned back on, typically through electrical shock.
A heart attack, typically known as a myocardial infarction (MI), affects the “plumbing” of the heart. A heart attack is caused by a blockage in a blood vessel that interrupts the flow of blood causing an area of the heart muscle to die. This causes a “blood backup” in the heart, similar to a backup in a plumbing line in a house. The heart must be “unclogged,” with drug therapy or surgery, in order to continue the blood flow to the rest of the body. “
- Sudden collapse
- No pulse
- No breathing
- Loss of consciousness
Sometimes other signs and symptoms precede sudden cardiac arrest. These may include fatigue, fainting, blackouts, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, palpitations or vomiting. But sudden cardiac arrest often occurs with no warning.
Although SCA doesn't always give a heads up that it's about to happen, you can still assess your own risk for one of these often-fatal incidents. In honor of October’s status as SCA Awareness Month, why not check out HRS’s online SCA Risk Assessment tool and see what your risk level is? You can take the assessment here.
Early intervention with an AED is crucial when SCA strikes. Let our ASHI and MEDIC First Aid instructors teach you how easy it is to use one of these lifesaving devices. Plus, HSI carries the Philips line of AEDs. If you are in the market for an AED or an AED program management solution, we can help! Call us today at 800.447.3177 for more information.