Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association Says Death of Pat Summerall Underscores Need For More Public Awareness

From: The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association

The tragic death of Pat Summerall, the former football player turned legendary play-by-play announcer, underscores how frequently and indiscriminately sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) strikes Americans, the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA) said today.

Nearly 300,000 U.S. deaths are attributed to SCA each year, resulting in the collapse of an American about once every two minutes. While early bystander attention and immediate CPR and AED use have been shown to significantly improve chances for survival, many SCA victims do not receive treatment fast enough and the overall survival rate remains tragically low at eight percent. The SCAA urges the public to remember these basic facts about sudden cardiac arrest:

  • SCA is different from a heart attack, and involves an electrical disruption of the heart that results in a very rapid but extremely weak heartbeat, prohibiting the heart from circulating blood and oxygen to the body (as compared to a pumping malfunction from a blocked artery that is often the cause of a heart attack)
  • SCA requires immediate CPR and often the shock of a defibrillator to restore the heart’s natural rhythm
  • A previous heart attack, coronary artery disease and a family history of sudden death or unexplained syncope (fainting) are among the risk factors that should always be shared with a personal physician, as well as other risk factors such as obesity, smoking and diabetes
  • Implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) provide round-the-clock protection for more than a million Americans identified as at risk of SCA.


The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association is the nation’s largest public advocacy organization exclusively dedicated to sudden cardiac arrest awareness and prevention. For more information, please visit