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Sudden Cardiac Death

Sudden cardiac death, also known as cardiac arrest or sudden heart failure is the cessation of normal circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively, and if this is unexpected can be termed a sudden cardiac arrest or SCA.

Sudden heart failure is different from (but may be caused by) a heart attack, where blood flow to the muscle of the heart is impaired.

Arrested blood circulation prevents delivery of oxygen to the body. Lack of oxygen to the brain causes loss of consciousness, which then results in abnormal or absent breathing. Brain injury is likely if cardiac arrest goes untreated for more than five minutes. For the best chance of survival and neurological recovery, immediate and decisive treatment is imperative.

Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that in certain situations is potentially reversible if treated early. When unexpected cardiac arrest leads to death this is called sudden cardiac death (SCD). The treatment for cardiac arrest is cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to provide circulatory support, followed by defibrillation if a shockable rhythm is present.

Texas Health is committed to providing quality care to heart and vascular patients throughout North Texas and beyond. While various technologies and services are discussed here, not all of our hospitals offer every treatment and diagnostic technology highlighted. Call 1-877-THR-WELL to learn more about heart and vascular services at a Texas Health hospital near you.