SCA Risk Factors

Risk factors for SCA include:

  • Low ejection fraction or weak heart muscle
  • Prior heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Abnormal heart rate or heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • Family history of arrhythmia
  • Family history of sudden cardiac death
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a thickened heart muscle that especially affects the ventricles)
  • Viral infection in the heart
  • History of syncope (fainting)
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD) and risk factors for CAD, including smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle
  • Significant changes in blood levels of potassium and magnesium (e.g., from using diuretics)
  • Recreational drug use.

CPR & AED Training

Victims of sudden cardiac arrest need immediate CPR and treatment with AEDs (automated external defibrillators). CPR/AED training is available through several national organizations, plus local hospitals, fire departments and EMS agencies.

To find training in your area, visit the following websites or contact local resources.

Information about how to provide CPR is also available through the University of Washington School of Medicine.

For videos on how to perform Hands-Only CPR, visit:

Learn CPR for someone you love.