October 2023: Sudden Cardiac Arrest Month

* Know your risk
* Get evaluated by a cardiologist
* Learn CPR

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the third leading death in the US.

Approximately 356,000 people of all ages experience EMS-assessed out-of-hospital non-traumatic SCA each year and nine out of 10 victims die. When bystanders intervene immediately by giving CPR or with a defibrillator, survival rates double or triple.

According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, SCA It can strike people of all ages who may seem to be healthy, even children and teens. When SCA happens, the person collapses and doesn’t respond or breathe normally. They may gasp or shake as if having a seizure. SCA leads to death in minutes if the person does not get help right away.

What causes sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)?

A SCA can happen when the heart’s electrical system — which controls the rate and rhythm of your heartbeat —  is not working right and causes irregular heartbeats which are called arrhythmias.

Said Michael Spooner, MD, board-certified cardiologist & electro-physiologist at the Mason City Clinic, “Typically people who have SCA have had a history of heart disease, namely a heart rhythm issue or a structural problem with the heart. The heart rhythm problems that contribute to SCA are with the ventricle (bottom) chambers of the heart – the most common being ventricular fibrillation which is a rapid and irregular heartbeat or ventricular tachycardia which is an organized heart rhythm, but it is very fast and loses effectiveness as a pump.” Additionally, structural changes in the heart that can lead to SCA can be an enlarged heart due to high blood pressure or advanced heart disease. Physical stress can cause your heart’s electrical system to fail, such as intense physical activity in which your body releases the hormone adrenaline. This hormone can trigger SCA in people who have heart problems.

How do you evaluate your risk for SCA?

Spooner said, “Those at risk for SCA are typically people who already heart disease – namely coronary artery disease – or have experienced a cardiac arrest in the past. If people are at high risk, we may implant an defibrillator in their heart to restart their heart automatically.”

“The other risk population are people who have a family member who have had cardiac arrest or people who may have passed out with exercise. This population may not know there are issues with their heart and that’s why it is very important that these people get evaluated through an echocardiogram (ECHO) which looks at structural issues of the heart or an EKG which shows heart rhythms.”

CPR & Automatic External Defibrillators Save Lives

Spooner said, “Part of Sudden Cardiac Arrest month is raising awareness of the lifesaving benefits of CPR and automatic external defibrillators (AED) to people with SCA. We encourage the general public to take CPR classes and learn how to use an AED which are offered in all communities through the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. We also want to see more AEDs in public places like schools, universities, grocery stores, libraries, community centers, parks – like we see fire extinguishers in public spaces. AEDs can save a lot of lives.”

If you are at high risk for SCA, talk to your primary care doctor about it.

If you have a family member that has suffered a SCA or cardiac arrest, you should be evaluated by a cardiologist.

At the Mason City Clinic, there are 12 board-certified cardiologists helping people of northern Iowa with their heart conditions and disease. Board-certified in cardiology, cardiovascular disease, nuclear cardiology, cardiac electrophysiology and interventional cardiology, our specialists have well over 100 years of combined experience and extensive medical training, including advanced fellowship training from the most prestigious institutions.

Mason City Clinic cardiologists see patients at the main office in Mason City, and through our community outreach program, also travel to see patients in locations across northern Iowa and southern Minnesota including in Albert Lea, Algona, Belmond, Britt, Buffalo Center, Charles City, Clarion, Cresco, Emmetsburg, Forest City, Garner, Greene, Hampton, Iowa Falls, Lake Mills, Mason City, New Hampton, Northwood, Osage, and Waverly.

Specialty care close to home

Up-to-date. Down-to-earth. Close to home. Lots of great reasons to make Mason City Clinic
your first choice for all your family’s specialty healthcare needs.

250 S. Crescent Drive, Mason City, IA 50401

Tel: 641.494.5200

Toll Free: 800-622-1411

Fax: 641.494.5403

Driving Directions

2440 Bridge Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007

Tel: 641.494.5200

Fax: 641.494.5403

Driving Directions