Why Are Women Less Likely to Survive Sudden Cardiac Arrest Than Men?

According to a recent study, women have a lower survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest than men. This article examines why this happens and how to increase the survival rate of women who face this issue.

What Do The Researchers Say?

Based on the research, it was discovered that women have a lower chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest, partly because bystanders are more reluctant to provide resuscitation to women than men.

The researchers also discovered that primary care visits greatly increased in the weeks before a sudden cardiac arrest. They believe this indicates there are more warning signs of impending cardiac arrest than previously believed.

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

According to UCLA Health, sudden cardiac arrest is an arrhythmia in the heart’s rhythm that makes it stop beating immediately. Dr. Salvatore Savona, an electrophysiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said coronary artery disease is the most common underlying cause for a cardiac arrest.

He also said the typical symptoms include chest pressure or pain that worsens with exertion and improves with rest. However, Savona said there are also atypical symptoms like fatigue, nausea, or shortness of breath.

Cardiac Arrest Risk Factors for Women

Risk factors for women include suffering one or more of the following conditions:

● Coronary heart disease

● Dilated cardiomyopathy

● Depression

● Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

● Previous heart attack

However, many people still see sudden cardiac arrests, heart disease, and heart attacks as a man’s disease, even though 40 percent of cardiac arrests happen in women.

Ways to Help Prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest

According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 people in the United States suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, with only 12 percent surviving.

To prevent sudden cardiac arrest, the following steps can be taken:

● Stop smoking

● Pay attention to warning signs like shortness of breath, chest pain, unexplained fatigue, dizziness, fainting, and flu-like symptoms

● Discuss with your doctor about your family history of heart disease, heart failure, or other cardiac conditions

● Follow up on medical care such as blood tests and routine physicals

● Eat a heart-healthy diet

● Exercise regularly. For this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.


Women are less likely to survive a sudden cardiac arrest due to reluctance from bystanders to provide resuscitation. To avoid this issue, ask your family members to take cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes.