How do I identify Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)?

Symptoms of cardiac arrest include sudden loss of responsiveness and abnormal (gasping) or no breathing.

What is the SCA survival rate?

The overall survival in the U.S. is 10 percent, but the odds that an individual survives can be markedly improved if CPR starts within the first few minutes, followed, if indicated, by defibrillation.

Who does SCA affect?

People of all ages can experience sudden cardiac arrest; it is not the same as what is commonly called a “heart attack.” A person may still be breathing and conscious during a heart attack. With sudden cardiac arrest, the victim is unresponsive.

What if I'm afraid of "mouth-to-mouth" contact?

Hands-only CPR is all you need to do.

What about COVID-19?

The American Heart Association released interim CPR guidelines that address concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read our summary here.

What if I'm afraid I will hurt them?

Immediate CPR doubles or triples the chance that the victim will survive. You almost can’t hurt them and…

if you do nothing, they will die. 

What if I don't want to be sued?

Iowa has a Good Samaritan Law that protects bystanders from legal action. Again…

if you do nothing, they will die.

Is an AED safe to use?

Yes! If you can turn it on, you can use it. AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) are designed with multiple safeguards. The device will provide verbal prompts as soon as it is turned on.

What are some other facts?

  • The chance of survival decreases by 10% with each passing minute.
  • While immediate CPR doubles or triples the chance of survival, defibrillation will double THAT figure.
  • Remember three steps:
    1. call 911,
    2. push hard in the center of the chest,
    3. get and use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator)