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Device Disparity Awareness: SCA Consumer Survey Fact Sheet

In August 2012, the Heart Rhythm Society worked with Ipsos Healthcare to conduct a 20-minute online survey of more than 1,500 adult consumers and 300 physicians in the U.S.  A representative sample of Caucasians, African Americans and Hispanics were surveyed.  These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's gender, age, region, household income and race composition reflects that of the actual U.S population according to Census information.

The survey aimed to help HRS identify current awareness levels and perceptions of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.  SCA is one of the leading causes of death in the United States each year.  In fact, SCA claims one life every 90 seconds, taking more lives each year than breast cancer, lung cancer or AIDS. 

Key Findings

Overall, consumers are unaware of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and its impact. 

  • One in four people were able to correctly identify SCA.
  • Only 25 percent of Americans correctly estimate how many people in the United States experience SCA each year. 
  • Over 90 percent of Americans underestimate number of people who die from sudden cardiac arrest each year.

Lack of awareness of SCA symptoms impact immediate and life-saving treatment.

  • Three in five consumers with no self-reported prior heart disease diagnosis who report experiencing heart disease symptoms (fluttering, chest pain, etc.) do not visit the doctor as a result of their symptoms.
  • For those with risk of heart disease (either diagnosed with heart disease or experiencing symptoms), more than 60 percent have not seen a heart specialist.

Among races and ethnicities, African Americans experience a larger gap in SCA knowledge and treatment than Caucasians and Hispanics.

  • Ninety percent of African Americans say their doctor has not talked to them about their risk for SCA. African Americans report fewer specialist visits in the past year, yet more often indicate events/factors that would encourage a doctor visit
  • Overall, African Americans self-reported one-third fewer doctor visits in the last year overall compared to Caucasian and Hispanics.
  • About half as many African Americans as Caucasians or Hispanics say that implantable cardioverter defibrillators or ICDs are the best way to treat SCA
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