Living. Learning.

Approximately 40,000 people survive SCA
in the United States annually

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Life After SCA

For many survivors and their families, going home after experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest can be an unsettling experience.

Many survivors have described physical, mental, and emotional changes —some that last for a few hours, and others that never go away. While each person’s experience is unique, many have said they share similar feelings and go through the same lifestyle changes after the event.

Some common challenges SCA survivors deal with include:

  • Memory loss, delayed recall, difficulty with problem solving
  • Physical limitations
  • New medication and diet regimes
  • Implantation of a cardiovertor defibrillator (ICD) to prevent future fatal arrhythmias
  • Anxiety, anger or depression as a result of cognitive issues, having concerns around the ICD, or fearing that this could happen again

Despite these challenges, SCA survivors often return to normal life not long after the event, and there are many resources available for support. Some have found that joining a survivor support group helps them to adjust to their new lives. Finding other people who’ve been through a similar experience can help with fears and anxiety, and provide a forum for you to ask questions to someone who’s been through it.

HeartRescue Project’s
Life After SCA Initiative


Life after SCA provides support for SCA survivors and their loved ones, with the goal of helping them return to living happy, healthy and fulfilled lives.

Community SCA Response Planning Guide

Read our guide for more details and a listing of basic needs upon hospital discharge

Sharing Best Practices

Survivors play an integral role in educating the public about sudden cardiac arrest.

  • Sharing survivor stories can have powerful influence and can be leveraged to challenge the public to learn CPR and place AEDs in their neighborhoods.
  • Increase awareness of SCA through appearances, media interviews and fundraisers. Funds raised can be used to purchase AEDs for local businesses or churches.
  • Survivors can take an active role in providing CPR training and in encouraging citizens to provide bystander CPR.
  • Survivor groups can provide assistance to community groups who wish to purchase and place AEDs.

Survivor Videos

John Bertagnolli

Video documenting the save of John Bertagnolli in Bozeman, MT, March 30, 2011. Provided by AMR.

Carl and His Family

Video documenting the save of Carl Borquist in Bozeman, MT, April 30, 2012. Provided by AMR.