Sudden cardiac arrest is rare in young people, but it can happen. The CDC estimates that 2000 seemingly healthy young people under the age of 25 die each year of sudden cardiac death. CPR and AED training could save your child’s life.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)
Sudden cardiac arrest is a life-threatening emergency caused by a sudden loss of heart function, and it must be treated within minutes. Someone is in cardiac arrest if they are not breathing, are unresponsive, and there is no pulse.
It is the leading cause of death in young athletes, but it can affect young people not involved in sports. It can happen during exercise or even when resting. Sometimes it occurs during sleep.
Knowing how to perform CPR and having an AED nearby can save a life. Although it isn’t common, even one life lost is too many.
Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
An AED analyzes heart rhythm to detect if shock therapy is needed to restore a normal heart beat for someone in cardiac arrest. It is a portable device and anyone can learn to use it, even adolescents. It has audio guides installed in them, so anyone can follow the directions.
It can take EMT’s 8 to 12 minutes to arrive after a 911 call, and each passing minute without defibrillation decreases their chance to survive. They are most effective when used within 5 minutes after a person collapses. That 5 minute window could save someone’s life or prevent irreparable brain damage unless something is done.
There are usually AEDs in places like malls, airports, and schools so once the 911 call is placed, begin CPR and have someone locate the automated external defibrillator immediately.
Find out about CPR training in Northern Virginia. Middle school children can learn how to perform CPR. For schools that have an AED and proper training, the survival rate for children increases to 85%.
There are a few risk factors to watch for including the following:
- Family history of unexpected or unexplained sudden death in an otherwise healthy family member under age 50
- Family member with inherited heart muscle or electrical problem
- Chest pain during exercise
- An abnormal heart rate or rhythm
- Fainting or passing out without warning or during exercise
- Born with a congenital heart defect
Only 10 to 12% of people who have a sudden cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting survive. How many more could survive if more people knew how to administer CPR and if defibrillators were readily available within minutes?
You can find a class in the US here.