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Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or SCA, is uncommon in young people. In the general population, the chance of SCA is highest in people with known angina, a history of heart attacks, cholesterol problems or furred arteries. However, because these conditions are rare in the under 35s, Sudden Cardiac Arrest in young people tends to be caused by other diseases. Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome, or SADS, is caused by abnormalities in the heart rhythm that can cause sudden death in young people who appear to be healthy. This condition can usually be treated, but only if diagnosed. There are some warning signs such as family history of unexplained death in those under the age of 40, problems during exercise like fainting, seizures or constant or unusual chest pain, and also shortness of breath during exercise. It may be that cardiac arrest is the first indication there's a problem. Sometimes, this condition can be passed down from parent to child, and the chance of the child inheriting the condition is about 50%.

It is estimated that over half of the 4000 SADS death each year concerning children and teens or young adults had at least one of those warning signs. Due to a number of factors, it is difficult to know the exact number of people affected by Sudden Cardiac Arrest in the under 35 age group. However, there are factors that we do know. SCA occurs in approximately three out of 100,000 12 to 35-year-olds competing regularly in sports. Competing regularly in sports increases your chance of cardiac arrest nearly threefold. Screening for cardiac conditions with medical consultation and an ECG significantly reduces the rate of SCA in the young. Prompt resuscitation with CPR defibrillation improves outcome significantly. SCA in the young is undoubtedly more difficult for families, friends and communities to adjust to than when it affects older populations.

And finally, some estimates suggest that SCA occurs in approximately 10 people under the age of 35 every week in the UK. 270 children die due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest at school each year. And this shows the importance of training in AED units in our schools.

There are many campaigns to increase awareness and drive down this figure, like the Oliver King Foundation and Hand On Heart, to name a few. We have put links to these charities in the download section of this course. Any support you can give these charities will be greatly appreciated. It is important to be aware of this risk, and also to work on increasing training and the number of AED units in schools. ProTrainings have launched a free online student first aid course for any child at studentfirstaid.co.uk. If you can help to spread the word to your local school or club, please get in touch.