Recently Dr. Neil Sanghvi discussed Sudden Cardiac Arrest on the local CBS station here in Jacksonville, FL. He discussed SCA and new techniques that can help patients live with this condition.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a sudden and unanticipated pulseless condition attributed to termination of cardiac mechanical activity. It is frequently caused by ventricular fibrillation, an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system. When SCA strikes, the blood stops flowing to the brain, the heart, and the rest of the body, and the person suddenly passes out. In reality, this person is clinically dead and will remain so unless someone helps immediately.
A Heart Attack and Sudden Cardiac Arrest are not the same thing. A heart attack occurs when part of the heart’s blood supply is decreased or blocked, causing the heart muscle to become injured or die. A heart attack can be described as a “plumbing problem” in the heart. The heart attack victim is awake and may complain about one or more of the signs and symptoms of heart attack. In contrast, the SCA victim is not awake and needs immediate help in order to possibly survive.
A newer option called a subcutaneous defibrillator (S-ICD) offers the same protection but without touching the heart. Instead, it’s implanted just underneath the skin on the left side of the chest next to the rib cage. The device monitor your heart rhythm 24 hours a day.
The S-ICD may be a good option for people who have an active lifestyle. Because it has few or no upper-body and athletic restrictions, choosing the S-ICD means you should be able to continue doing the things you love to do.