Sudden Cardiac Arrest: 10 Years Later. What has Advanced & Where Fighting SCA Still Needs Improvement.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest: 10 Years Later. What has Advanced & Where Fighting SCA Still Needs Improvement.

Please read the article below from one of Enerspect's valued manufacturer representative's, Brian Duffield, a sudden cardiac arrest survivor. 

Sudden cardiac arrest: 10 years later | Brian Duffield


"I had my SCA on May 23, 2006. Like everyone else on the planet who has had an SCA and survived, it came as a huge surprise — especially at the age of 40. After the initial shock and disbelief, I endeavored to get closer to the SCA space. I've done talks around the country and have been employed in the automated external defibrillator (AED) space since 2011.

So I've been living and breathing SCA awareness and prevention for many years now. However, when I reflect back on the last 10 years for an SCA victim, it's amazing to see the progress — or in some cases, the lack thereof.

On the one hand, we know so much more about SCA than we ever have:

  • ST elevation has become a key marker that was given little regard in the past.
  • We are screening more kids than ever before with the numerous foundations in the space and catching more high-risk kids with a proactive approach and aggressive follow-up.
  • Compression-only CPR has proven to be equally effective as traditional CPR and easier to administer.
  • Cooling therapy has evolved to now be administered in the field and with better technology and control inside the hospital.
  • AEDs have started to incorporate CPR guidance technology to help improve that CPR function for the rescuer.
  • Location apps like Pulse Point have helped identify and utilize existing AEDs.

All these and more have helped to provide a modest uptick in the survival rates, but there's still a long way to go.

On the other hand, we still see survival rates of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in the single digits. This would be the needle that all these advances are trying to affect — survivability for the SCA victim.

Despite those advances mentioned above, there are still plenty of things that keep those survivability rates low:

  • AED device technology has changed little in the past 10 years.
  • The willingness and readiness of the public to act in the face of an SCA remains low.
  • Serious adoption of AED programs (both commercially and privately) remains mired in a sea of legal confusion that is different in every state.
  • AED device readiness remains a very human process (thus often suffers).
  • Government regulations have increased significantly on AED manufacturers.
  • The entire survival chain still needs to work every time to produce a good outcome — one weak link and the whole chain is compromised.

For me, and with every story I've seen since, luck still remains a significant factor in the outcome. However, luck is improved for the well prepared. I see more stories where the whole survival chain happens, but it's still not commonplace.

To change the game in the next 10 years, it falls on us. It's not technology, not regulations, not just improvements in the EMS system, but you and me taking the reins and being ready, willing and able to act.

We must be trained on compression-only CPR, know a ready AED is near us, and not be afraid —for whatever reason — to respond. This takes luck out of the game. This gets us well prepared as a society to make a difference for those 1,000 people every day who suffer an SCA.

For my 20-year SCA anniversary, I hope to see the survivability rate at 25 percent or greater as a society. Some cities are already well above that with the coordinated response and public awareness in the community, so it can happen. But it needs to happen everywhere.

If we just embrace a new attitude and willingness to make this a priority, imagine what we can do. Imagine the impact 10 years from now when we've made a difference to more than 500,000 people who survived SCA and would not have today. Good luck to us!"