So what’s the difference? SCA is an electrical malfunction of the heart, while a heart attack is a blockage in the blood vessels interrupting the flow of blood to the heart – essentially an “electrical” as opposed to a “plumbing” problem. Knowing the difference could help save thousands of lives each year.
The following factors might indicate an increased risk of SCA:
• Previous heart attack.
• Family history of sudden death, heart failure or heart attack.
• Abnormal heart rate or rhythm.
• Unusually rapid heart rate that comes and goes.
• Episodes of fainting.
• A ejection fraction (the amount of blood pumped by the ventricles with each heartbeat) of less than 35 percent.
Know the signs of SCA. Victims will fall to the ground, become unresponsive and not breathe normally, if at all. Time is critical. The Heart Rhythm Society advises the following actions in response to SCA:
• Call 911.
• Administer CPR – hands-only CPR is proven to be just as effective as mouth-to-mouth.
• Use an automated external defibrillator if one is available.
How to prevent SCA:
• Live a healthy lifestyle.
• Know your family history.
• Know your risk of heart failure.
• Treat and monitor health conditions that can contribute to heart problems, including high blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking.
• Seek professional guidance to control or stop an abnormal heart rhythm.
– Courtesy of Family Features