On Track: Sudden Cardiac Death

Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) happens when the heart unexpectedly stops working. SCD is usually caused by an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). When a person experiences SCD, he or she collapses, is unresponsive to touch or sound and usually stops breathing. SCD victims will die if they don’t receive emergency medical help. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) must be used to restart the heart.

Up to 40,000 cardiac arrests happen in Canada each year. Your heart has a natural pacemaker, called the sinus node, which creates electrical impulses that cause your heart to beat. When there is a disorder in this electrical system, an arrhythmia may occur.

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