Warning Signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

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It can happen in a moment. We see it on TV and hear stories about people who have collapsed, their hearts giving out, and being rushed to the hospital. The way it is described, it can seem like random chance, but this condition is actually something that doctors are very aware of. It is called Sudden Cardiac Arrest, which is what happens when someone’s heart fails, sometimes with or without warning.

SCA is a frightening health condition that many of us worry about happening to us. But what if you knew the symptoms? What if you knew how to look for signs of SCA?

The name ‘Sudden Cardiac Arrest’ might sound like something that no one could predict or prevent, but there are actually numerous indicators to catch risks and symptoms of SCA before it can become dangerous. In honor of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, Steamboat Emergency Center wants to help educate our community about SCA. We’ll discuss what causes it, what the risk factors are, and what the signs of SCA are, to keep you and your family prepared.

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden Cardiac Arrest refers to a heart suffering abnormal rhythm, which results in a problem with the heart’s natural electrical system. In simpler terms, it means that your heart stops pumping blood as it should, which puts your body in serious danger.

There are many different heart conditions and triggers that might cause SCA, which helps narrow down when and why we might need to look out for SCA. The following conditions can be causes and precursors the SCA:

  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • History of Heart Attacks
  • Enlarged Heart
  • Valvular Heart Disease
  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Brugada’s Syndrome, QT Syndrome, and other cardiac electrical conditions

If your family has a history of these conditions, or if you have one of them yourself, you may be at a higher risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest. You should talk with a cardiologist about your risks and possible treatment options.

Risk Factors

We mentioned pre-existing heart conditions which might lead to SCA, but those are not the only causes. Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen to almost anyone, though the chances of it happening to some are more likely than others. The key is to know the risk factors in your life to lower the possibility that you will suffer from SCA. The following are factors which can contribute to someone’s likelihood of suffering from Sudden Cardiac Arrest:

  • Smoking and heavy drinking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Inactive lifestyle

While none of these factors will cause Sudden Cardiac Arrest, they can become factors in determining whether you are more susceptible to SCA. If you want to lower your risk of SCA, then try to counteract some of these risk factors. Don’t smoke, cut down your drinking, and monitor your diet to be more heart healthy. Even physical activity can be accessible for anyone, no matter your age or time restraints. Going on neighborhood walks is a good place to start if you struggle to find ways to exercise during the week.

Signs of Imminent SCA

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is often something that can occur so quickly, those experiencing it will not have time to act. But knowing the signs can become the difference between life and death when it comes to getting emergency help. Sometimes, SCA can feel like a heart attack or a fainting spell, which might leave someone short of breath, incoherent, and unable to stand.

If you feel faint, out of breath, or your heart is racing, sit down immediately. You might need medical attention, and if you are at a high risk for SCA, then you may be experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest. If you are able, it is important to call for help or ask someone near you to get emergency medical assistance. In the case of medical emergencies, it is always encouraged that patients call 911. If you or someone you love is experiencing SCA, getting medical help quickly is incredibly important.


Steamboat Emergency Center is open 24/7 with concierge-level care, and we are able to stabilize patients who are suffering or have suffered from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Our doctors are all board-certified emergency physicians, ready to treat you with no wait times. If you think you might be at risk for SCA, then consult with a physician about preventative treatment and what you can do to lower your risks.

Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Steamboat Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.