Sudden Cardiac Arrest advice

After a cardiac arrest

After a person is revived from SCA, treatment continues at hospital. Diagnostic tests may provide details about the medical condition that caused the sudden cardiac arrest. A heart rhythm specialist (cardiologist or electrophysiologist) will use results from diagnostic tests and a person's medical history to determine treatment options.

A previous episode of SCA often predicts another occurrence. As prevention is critical for future survival, make sure you meet with your doctor to discuss your treatment options. Advanced therapies and long-term treatment options are available today to prevent recurrence of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). For people at risk for SCA, the following treatment options can be used alone or in combination for long term prevention of SCA:

  • Medication
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
  • Catheter ablation

Guidelines for treatment were recently made available to the medical community by the European Society of Cardiology with recommendations for risk stratification and for the prevention of sudden cardiac death.

According to the European Society of Cardiology's Task Force on Sudden Cardiac Arrest, << The most effective treatment that is currently available for SCD [Sudden Cardiac Death, also called Sudden Cardiac Arrest] is the implantable cardioverter defibrillator. This therapy is generally more effective than drug-based treatments but has not been uniformly adopted, probably because of differing medical priorities in communities that have limited resources. This document emphasizes the outstanding success of ICD therapy and provides cogent information and argument that supports investment in this treatment. It is recognized that ICD therapy cannot be proved against every other treatment in every condition. Obviously some sensible extrapolation is justifiable. The Task Force expects further development in the therapy for the prevention and emergent treatment of SCD. Improvements in automatic external defibrillators, implantable cardioverter defibrillators and 'antiarrhythmic' drugs will certainly lead to even more effective treatment of those at risk of SCD.. >>
published in the Eur Heart J, Vol. 22, issue 16, August 2001

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