Where the World Gathers to Celebrate Every Day


National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month


CONCURRENT RESOLUTION (H. CON. RES. 393) – October is a month designated to support the goals and ideals of ‘‘National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month’’. Sudden cardiac arrest is often compared to a heart attack, but in reality, the two are very different. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. To put it simply, a heart attack is a “circulation” failure, while cardiac arrest is “electrical” failure. In 95% of sudden cardiac cases, the victim is lost.


Every year, more than 350,000 people die as a result of cardiac arrest. In fact, sudden cardiac arrest (or SCA) kills one person every two minutes. That’s claiming more lives than breast cancer, lung cancer, or AIDS. The scariest part is, SCA does not discriminate. It takes the lives of men, women, babies, teens… All the way up to the elderly. This can effect anyone and everyone. In order to decrease the death toll, it’s important to educate people on what SCA is, what the warning signs are, and how to respond if someone around you goes into cardiac arrest.


With their critical initiative, the Heart Rhythm Society hopes to raise continued awareness for Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and help people become more familiar with what can be done to save lives. To honor National SCA Month, learn ways to identify if someone has gone into cardiac arrest, and what you can do to save them. Symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest are drastic and immediate. If someone around you suddenly collapses, is unconscious, loses their pulse, and is not breathing, they are likely going into SCA. You MUST act fast, or you will lose them quickly. Here’s what to do.

  1. Call 911. Make sure someone can be on their way as fast as possible. Do this before you begin doing anything else.
  2. Perform CPR. Push hard and fast on the person’s chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. If you have not been trained, just continue chest compressions and allow their chest to rise completely before the next compression. Continue to do this until emergency personnel arrive.
  3. Use a portable defibrillator, if one is available. This isn’t likely, but if you are near one and are not trained, someone near you may be able to guide you in it’s use.

Below are a few ways to know if you are at risk for sudden cardiac arrest, according to Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic.

  1. Family history of coronary artery disease
  2. Smoking
  3. High blood pressure and high cholesterol
  4. Obesity
  5. Diabetes
  6. A sedentary lifestyle (minimal physical activity)
  7. Drinking too much alcohol (more than 2 drinks daily)
  8. Using illegal drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines

110TH CONGRESS 2D SESSION provides a PDF copy here.