Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

by Dr. George Carayannopoulos, director of the UTMB Heart Rhythm Center.

It was a typical morning for Adrienne and Dan. They woke up and turned to each other to welcome the day with a kiss and an “I love you.”

He went to get the newspaper, and she went into the kitchen to prepare coffee. He was at the breakfast table and told her that the forecast was for another sunny day. Adrienne was still in the kitchen but could hear him. She started talking to him about her plans for the day.

When she came out of the kitchen to bring the coffee to the table, Dan was slumped over in his chair, dead.

Dan had sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is defined medically as death or cardiac arrest occurring within one hour of the onset of symptoms, which could include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting or racing heart beats. Studies have shown, however, that the majority of people who have sudden cardiac arrest collapse or die without any symptoms. 

October was Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month. Many lives have been lost to SCA, and the story of Adrienne and Dan is not uncommon. The pain of losing a friend or loved one suddenly without warning is devastating. However, with continued medical research, increased awareness campaigns, and greater community access to state-of-the-art medical centers like UTMB, the problem of sudden cardiac arrest can be solved. Read the full story