SCA Stats

Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Although the reported incidence in youth is less than that in adults, SCA is not a rare occurrence. In fact, SCA affects about 16 people under the age of 18 every day. The following statistics show that SCA is a public health crisis—and bystander intervention with CPR and AEDs can mean the difference between life and death.

Risk and Warning Signs

  • Family history of cardiac arrest in a first-degree relative: two-fold increase in risk of cardiac arrest.1
  • EMS-treated, non-traumatic cardiac arrest victims who have symptoms within one hour of death: 33%.1

Annual Incidence

  • Non-traumatic EMS-treated out-of-hospital SCA: 382,500;1
  • SCA (all causes) among youth <18 years old: 5,760; and1
  • SCA among students 17–24 participating in National Collegiate Athletic Association sports: one per 22,903 athlete participant years.
  • Higher among blacks than whites and higher among men than women.

Bystander Intervention in Cases of SCA

  • Rate of bystander CPR: 32%; and
  • Rate of bystander use of AEDs: 2%.2

Survival Rates

  • Survival with bystander CPR, but no AED use before EMS arrival: 9%;
  • Survival with bystander CPR, application of AED, and shock delivered before EMS arrival: 38%.2


  1. Roger VL, Go AS, Lloyd-Jones DM. Executive Summary: Heart disease and stroke statistics--2012 update: A report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2012;125(1):188–197.
  2. Weisfeldt ML, Sitlani CM, Ornato JP. Survival after application of automatic external defibrillators before arrival of the emergency medical system: Evaluation in the resuscitation outcomes consortium population of 21 million. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010;55(16):1,713–1,720.

Mission & Vision

The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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