What is it?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart stops beating suddenly and unexpectedly. When the heart is not beating, blood flow to the organs also ceases. As a result, all organs are deprived of oxygen and the essential substrates that are required to maintain life. Cells of the brain and the heart are very vulnerable to lack of oxygen. If intervention to resume blood flow is not instituted promptly, death becomes inevitable.

SCA occurs when the heart stops beating suddenly and unexpectedly. When the heart is not beating, blood flow to the organs also ceases. As a result, all organs are deprived of oxygen and the essential substrates that are required to maintain life. Cells of the brain and the heart are very vulnerable to lack of oxygen. If intervention to resume blood flow is not instituted promptly, death becomes inevitable.





SCA can occur inside or outside the hospital setting

In-hospital cardiac arrest is often a complication or the final common pathway of a disease. People commonly affected are usually those hospitalised patients with terminal illness e.g. late stage of cancer or advanced heart failure refractory to treatment.

On the other hand, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest refers to SCA that occur in the community setting (e.g. the person’s home or workplace). Not uncommonly, it may occur while the person is walking on the street. What’s worse, SCA often set in with no or little warning.