EMS treat about 300,000 victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year in the US.
Less than eight percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen to anyone at any time. Many victims appear healthy with no known heart disease or other risk factors.
Sudden Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. Sudden Cardiac Arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to a part of the heart muscle is blocked. A heart attack may cause cardiac arrest.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Less than one-third of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR.
Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victims chance of survival.
The American Heart Association trains more than 12 million people in CPR annually, including healthcare providers and the general public.
The most effective rate for chest compressions is greater than 100-120 compression per minute - the same rhythm as the beat of the BeeGee's song, "Staying Alive."
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
Unless CPR and defibrillation are provided within minutes of collapse, few attempts at resuscitation are successful.
Even if CPR is performed, defibrillation with an AED is required to stop the abnormal rhythm and restore a normal heart rhythm.
New technology has made AEDs simple and user-friendly. Clear audio and visual cues tell users what to do when using an AED and coach people through CPR. A shock is delivered only if the victim needs it.
AEDs are now widely available in public places such as schools, airports and work places.
About 5,900 children 18 years old and under suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year from all causes, including trauma, cardiovascular causes and sudden infant death syndrome.
The incidence of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest in high school athletes ranges from .28 to1 death per 100,000 high school athletes in the U.S.
The American Heart Association does not have a minimum age requirement for people to learn CPR. The ability to perform CPR is based more on body strength rather than age.
Studies have shown that children as young as 9 years old can learn and retain CPR skills.