Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)

know the signs & symptoms

Many young SCA victims had no symptoms until the cardiac arrest. Healthy appearing youth & athletes may have an unidentified condition that has the potential to cause SCA.

Warning signs may be present in youth, and all will benefit from knowing these warning signs:

  • Fainting or near fainting during or immediately after exercise
  • Excessive and unexplained fatigue associated with exercise
  • Shortness of breath with exercise
  • Unusual chest pain or discomfort
  • Family history of sudden cardiac arrest
  • Close relatives with conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM),  dilated cardiomyopathy, Long QT syndrome, Marfan syndrome, or  clinically important arrhythmias



A victim of SCA will often complain of feeling "faint" or dizzy. They will rapidly fall unconcscious and may gasp for breath for a short period. If someone collapses and is not breathing, begin the "chain of survival".

  1. Early 911 - Call 911 immediately to get advanced care on the way
  2. Early CPR - As soon as possible to keep blood flowing to vital organs
  3. Early AED - Turn on the Automated External Defibrillator and follow the voice prompts (remember 1 minute = 10% less chance of survival) 
  4. Early Advanced Care - Paramedics, advanced life support systems and personnel