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Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

Sudden cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. SCA usually results from an electrical disturbance in the heart that disrupts its pumping action, arresting blood flow. It occurs more frequently in males and children between the ages of 10 and 19.

An arrhythmia is the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest.

If not treated immediately, sudden cardiac arrest can lead to death. With fast, appropriate medical intervention, survival is possible.

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of SCA include:

  • Sudden collapse
  • No pulse
  • No breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

Sometimes other signs and symptoms occur before sudden cardiac arrest. These can include:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Palpitations


Sudden cardiac arrest is not normally diagnosed before an episode. However, if the patient survives, a Deborah physician will perform tests to determine the cause of SCA and hopefully prevent future events. These tests include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging tests

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)? Why does it occur in children and adolescents? How do we identify and prevent sudden cardiac arrest? The head of our pediatric cardiology department, Dr. Cara Garofalo, answers all these questions and more in our video on SCA.
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