SCA  ≠ Heart Attack

Sudden cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack. A person having a heart attack is awake, and the heart is still beating. In SCA, the heart suddenly stops beating effectively. The person loses consciousness and can die within minutes. For more information, click here.


How Common is SCA in Youth?

According to the 2008 American Heart Association Heart & Stroke Statistical Update:

  • The reported incidence of out-of-hospital pediatric cardiac arrest vary widely (from 2.6 to 19.7 annual cases per 100 000). (Donoghue A, Nadkarni V, Berg RA, Osmond MH, Wells GA, Nesbitt L, Stiell IG; CanAm Pediatric Cardiac Arrest Investigators. Out-of-hospital pediatric cardiac arrest: an epidemiologic review and assessment of current knowledge. Ann Emerg Med. 2005;46:512–522.)

  • There are 72,293,812 individuals <18 years of age in the United States; this implies that there are from 1900 to 14,200 pediatric out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually of all causes (including trauma, sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory causes, cardiovascular causes, and submersion). (Monthly Postcensal Resident Population: U.S. Census data. Available at: Accessed June 27, 2007.


And the Children Shall Lead Them...

Scientists have found that teaching schoolchildren to perform CPR has a cascade effect: The kids, in turn, teach this lifesaving technique to their parents. As part of a study in Denmark, researchers taught CPR to 35,000 seventh graders at 806 schools. While at school, the students watched a training video and practiced CPR on inflatable mannequins; each then took a self-training CPR kit home. A follow-up survey found that on average, each child taught CPR to 2.5 family members and friends. This is important because adults age 40 to 50—the age of many students’ parents—are the most likely to encounter someone in cardiac arrest and the least likely to have taken a conventional CPR class. (Circulation. 2007 Sep 18;116(12):1380-5. Epub 2007 Aug 27; Circulation. 2007 Sep 18;116(12):1341-3. Disseminating cardiopulmonary resuscitation training by distributing 35,000 personal manikins among school children. Isbye DL, Rasmussen LS, Ringsted C, Lippert FK. Department of Anesthesia, Section 4231, Center of Head and Orthopedics, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark. dan.lou.isbye [at]