Sudden cardiac arrest is a serious condition in which the heart stops beating effectively without warning. SCA is typically due to an electrical disturbance that interferes with the heart’s pumping action, which often stops the flow of blood to the brain and the body. Due to this, patients may pass out suddenly, become unresponsive, and may not be breathing normally.
SCA can result in death within minutes if victims do not receive immediate treatment. Chances of survival improve when patients receive CPR or are treated with an automated external defibrillator, or AED, a device that can deliver a treatment shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm.
Some pre-existing heart conditions are associated with a higher chance of sudden cardiac arrest, including:
- A weak heart muscle (known as a low ejection fraction)
- Previous heart attack
- Heart failure
- Congenital heart disease
- Family history of SCA
- A Virus or infection in the heart
- Other risk factors may include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, obesity, and smoking
Since SCA interrupts the flow of blood to the brain, it causes unconsciousness and can also lead to complications. Without a quick return of normal heart rhythm, not only can SCA result in death but also the potential for brain damage. Chances of survival decline by about 10 percent for every minute.
SCA occurs suddenly, and victims often lose consciousness before they can seek help. In order to receive quick treatment, sudden cardiac arrest must be witnessed by someone nearby, so that they can seek treatment on behalf of the victim. Recognizing the event, calling 911, and seeing an AED may all result in lost time.
To close this gap in treatment time, certain heart patients at risk of SCA may be prescribed a ZOLL LifeVest wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD). LifeVest is designed to continually monitor the heart’s rhythm and deliver a treatment shock if certain life-threatening rapid heart rhythms are detected.
ZOLL LifeVest is often prescribed after a patient has experienced a recent cardiac event, such as a heart attack or new diagnosis of heart failure. Patients wear LifeVest so that they can have protection during their early recovery, either until their heart condition improves or their doctor determines that they need a long-term solution, such as an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, or ICD.