SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST, or SCA, is defined as “a sudden and unexpected pulseless condition attributed to cessation of cardiac mechanical activity”, according to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. SCA is the leading cause of death in adults over the age of 40 in the United States, but fortunately is often reversible and can be treated with early intervention.
Understanding what protocols and actions to take when a patient is experiencing cardiac arrest is a crucial part of Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). They are complex, so practitioners and teachers have developed a mnemonic device, known as the “H’s and T’s of ACLS”, which explain the conditions associated with pre-arrest and cardiac arrest algorithms.
Because many cardiac arrest conditions are reversible, determining and treating the cause is a must for optimal patient care and outcome. Here are the H’s and T’s of ACLS from the latest American Heart Association standards and guidelines and AMC.