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What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. SCA affects approximately 350,000 people in the United States per year and claims more lives than stroke, lung cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined.  It is the largest killer of persons over 45 years old.

What are the Risk Factors?

The risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) increases with age. The risk also is higher if you have underlying heart disease. Men are two to three times more likely to have SCA than women.  SCA rarely occurs in children unless they have inherited problems that make them likely to have SCA.

The major risk factor for SCA is coronary heart disease (CHD).  Most people who have a SCA have some degree of CHD.  However, these people may not know that they have CHD.  Many SCAs happen in people who have silent CHD and no known heart disease prior to SCA.

Other risk factors for SCA include:

  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes and pre-diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • A personal history of arrhythmias
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

How can I help?

The single most important factor for improving survival rates in Illinois is teaching as many people as possible to recognize SCA and to immediately 1) Call 911, 2) do hands-only CPR and 3) use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).    Contact us and we will come to your organization with a team of volunteers who will train your church members, employees or friends.

It is also important that your church, work or community have an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) and that people on your team are trained how to use it.  Learn more where to purchase one here.

About us

The Illinois Heart Rescue project consists of a team of healthcare professionals,  first responders,  advocacy groups and community-based organizations who are committed to improving SCA survival rates in the State of Illinois.

Learn more about the Illinois Heart Rescue team here.

Illinois Heart Rescue’s Mission is to:

  1. Train as many state of Illinois residents as possible to recognize and react to Sudden Cardiac Arrest when they witness it;
  2. Educate Pre-hospital first responders, including EMS and 911 Dispatchers, using updated team-based Incident Command guidelines.
  3. Educate Hospitals to the survival benefits of hypothermia after SCA, and the assessment of neurological impairment, by establishing SCA protocols.
  4. Create a SCA Survivors Network in order to provide support for  new SCA survivors and their families.
  5. Improve the collection of data in order to have accurate metrics regarding the incidence of SCA and outcomes.

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