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How is sudden cardiac arrest treated?

Dr. Kristopher J. Selke, DO
Interventional Cardiologist

For people who are having sudden cardiac arrest, access to defibrillators is vital. Access to an environment where a person can get a defibrillator activated quickly with the emergency medical services (EMS) team is integral to successful outcomes. Having defibrillators available in the community and having early access, even in areas where there might be more of remote conditions, is very important.

Some people may have an implantable defibrillator, which is a device that's internal (inside the heart). Should the person have any recurrence of sudden cardiac arrest, the defibrillator will shock the heart back into normal rhythm. Nevertheless, the presence of an external defibrillator is a very important consideration in the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest is treated with defibrillation, which restores normal rhythm to the heart.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) happens when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions and the heart suddenly stops beating. It is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. People experiencing SCA can be resuscitated with an automated external defibrillator (AED), which uses an electric shock to “jump-start” the heart.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.