Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) requires immediate resuscitation with a defibrillator. This device sends an electric impulse to the heart, which may restore a normal rhythm to the heart that has stopped beating. Defibrillation must be done within minutes of SCA. With every      minute that passes, the chances of surviving SCA drop rapidly.

Emergency medical teams and other first-aid responders usually are trained and equipped to use a defibrillator. Call emergency services right away if someone has signs or symptoms of SCA. The sooner help is called, the better potentially lifesaving treatment can be done.

Automated External Defibrillators
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are special defibrillators that untrained bystanders can also use. These devices are becoming more available in public places like airports, office buildings, and shopping centers. AEDs are programmed to give an electric shock if they detect a dangerous arrhythmia, such as ventricular fibrillation. This prevents giving a shock to someone who may have fainted but isn`t having SCA. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should be given to a person having SCA until defibrillation can be done. 

Treatment in a Hospital
If you survive SCA, you usually will be admitted to a hospital for observation and treatment. In the hospital, your medical team will closely watch your heart. They may give you medicines to try to reduce the chance of another SCA.

While in the hospital, your medical team will try to find out what caused your SCA. If you`re diagnosed with coronary artery disease, you may have to undergo angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting. These procedures help restore blood flow through narrowed or blocked coronary arteries.

Often, people who have SCA get a device called an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD). This small device is surgically placed under the skin in your chest or abdomen. An ICD uses electric pulses or shocks to help control dangerous arrhythmias.

 

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