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Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

According to the American Heart Association, over 350,000 Americans die annually from sudden cardiac arrest. Some organizations estimate that 14,000 of these deaths are children and young people.

The SafeBeat Initiative is committed to the early detection of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) occurs when there is a problem with the heart’s electrical system, resulting in a disruption of the heart muscle’s normal rhythm. If untreated, this abrupt loss of heart function results in sudden death. One of the leading causes of sudden cardiac arrest are cardiac arrhythmia syndromes, which may be detected with an ECG screening.

SafeBeat teams with organizations, businesses, and schools to conduct ECGs for America's youth, young athletes, and college athletes.

Some specific causes of sudden cardiac death in young people include:

  • Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome (SUDS)
  • Sudden Adolescent Death Syndrome (SADS)
  • Sudden Athletic Death Syndrome (SAD)
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Long Q-T Syndrome

Other causes of sudden cardiac death in young people include structural abnormalities of the heart, such as unrecognized congenital heart disease and heart muscle abnormalities.

Other causes include inflammation of the heart muscle, which can be caused by viruses and other illnesses. In addition to Long QT Syndrome, other abnormalities of the heart's electrical system, such as Brugada Syndrome, can cause sudden death.

Another rare cause of sudden cardiac death that can occur in anyone, though it's usually heard about in young people who play sports, is called commotio cordis. It occurs as the result of a blunt blow to the chest, such as being hit by a baseball or hockey puck, at just the right time. The blow to the chest can trigger ventricular fibrillation if the blow strikes at exactly the wrong time in the heart's electrical cycle.