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Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

Cardiac arrest; cardiopulmonary arrest; Circulatory arrest; Sudden cardiac death (SCD)

Cardiac arrest is a sudden stop in effective blood flow due to the failure of the heart to contract effectively. Symptoms include loss of consciousness and abnormal or absent breathing. Some people may have chest pain,shortness of breath, or nausea before this occurs. If not treated within minutes, death usually occurs. The most common cause of cardiac arrest is coronary artery disease. Less common causes include major blood loss, lack of oxygen, very low potassium, heart failure, and intense physical exercise. A number of inherited disorders may also increase the risk including long QT syndrome. The initial heart rhythm is most often ventricular fibrillation.