The sudden cessation of heart activity, respiration, and awareness is known as sudden cardiac arrest. The heart’s electrical system malfunctions, causing your heart to cease beating and preventing blood from flowing to your body.
When the blood supply to a portion of the heart is cut off suddenly, it is not the same as having a heart attack. A heart attack, on the other hand, might cause an electrical disruption that results in abrupt death.
Needless to say, it’s a terrifying medical emergency. Keep on reading to learn all about the signs of cardiac arrest, and what to do if you see someone exhibiting those signs.
The Causes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
An abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), which occurs when your heart’s electrical system doesn’t perform properly, is usually the cause of abrupt cardiac arrest.
Your heart’s electrical system controls your heartbeat. Your heart might beat excessively quickly, too slow, or irregularly if anything goes wrong. There are several forms of arrhythmias, some of which are innocuous, while others may lead to abrupt cardiac arrest.
At the moment of cardiac arrest, the most frequent heart rhythm is an arrhythmia in one of your heart’s bottom chambers (ventricle).
Your heart’s ventricles quiver ineffectively instead of pumping blood. This is all due to irregular electrical impulses or ventricle fibrillation.
Risk Factors: Heart Health Disorders
The sudden onset of cardiac arrest may occur in patients who have no known heart condition. Preexisting cardiac conditions are more likely to lead to a life-threatening arrhythmic condition, although this is not always the case.
The following are examples of such circumstances.
Coronary Artery Disease and Heart Attack
In persons with coronary artery disease, the arteries become blocked with cholesterol and other deposits. This decreases blood flow to the heart and leads to sudden cardiac arrest.
Next, ventricular fibrillation and abrupt cardiac arrest may develop as a consequence of a heart attack. This is generally a result of coronary artery disease.
You may also develop scar tissue in your heart after a cardiac arrest. Deficiencies in your heart’s rhythm might be caused by electrical shorts in scar tissue.
Cardiomyopathy: Enlarges Heart
This is largely caused by an increase in the size and/or thickness of the heart’s muscle walls.
Then your heart muscle is aberrant, which is a disorder that often causes arrhythmias and may be dangerous.
Valvular Heart Disease
Having a leaking or narrowed heart valve might cause your heart muscle to expand or contract.
Arrhythmia is more likely to occur if the chambers are expanded or weakened by the force of a tight or leaky valve.
Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Electrical Issues
Congenital heart disease may be a factor in sudden cardiac arrest in children and teenagers. Surgery to treat a congenital heart abnormality can’t reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death in adults.
Also, the heart’s electrical system malfunction may occur in certain persons rather than a heart muscle or valves issue. Brugada syndrome and long QT syndrome are examples of primary cardiac rhythm disorders.
Signs of Cardiac Arrest
Due to a lack of blood flow to the brain, loss of consciousness (fainting) is the first and most common sign of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. It is also impossible to detect any kind of pulse or beat.
Although Sudden Cardiac Arrest usually comes with no warning indications, the following symptoms may occur prior to Sudden Cardiac Arrest:
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue or weakness
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
It’s possible that some persons who are believed to have died from a “massive heart attack” really died of Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Treatments
Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. In most cases, Sudden Cardiac Arrest results in death within a matter of minutes.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of a defibrillator (a machine that shocks the heart electrically) may save a person’s life if administered immediately.
It is possible to choose between two kinds of defibrillators.
If an aberrant heartbeat is detected, an external defibrillation unit may be used to provide an electric shock to restart the heart. Schools, airports, and hotels all make use of external defibrillators like the Zoll AED Plus Defibrillator. It is possible for untrained individuals to shock someone who is undergoing a sudden cardiac arrest using these devices.
It is possible to administer life-saving shocks to the heart using an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, such as the EMBLEM MRI S-ICD System, which can detect abnormal or hazardous heartbeats.
Chances of Survival and Recovery
Every minute that passes without a life-saving shock decreases the odds of surviving a Sudden Cardiac Arrest by 7% to 10%.
In the event of cardiac arrest, the good news is that prompt treatment with CPR and a defibrillator (a device that delivers an electric shock to the heart) may save a person’s life. According to research, defibrillation may successfully halt 95 percent or more of dangerously rapid cardiac rhythms.
What to Do When Encountering Cardiac Arrest Signs
The shortage of oxygen-rich blood when the heart stops may cause death or irreversible harm to the brain within moments. When you’re trying to save an unconscious individual who isn’t breathing, you need to act quickly.
Do the following if you observe a person who is unconscious and not breathing normally. First, call an ambulance or the police if you need immediate medical attention. Before commencing CPR, use a phone if you have direct access to one.
The person’s respiration should be checked quickly. Start CPR if the patient isn’t breathing regularly.
At a pace of 100 to 120 compressions per minute, apply intense pressure on the victim’s chest. Rescue breaths should be given every 30 compressions if you are skilled in CPR.
Keep up the chest compressions if you haven’t had any training. In between each compression, let the chest fully rise. A portable defibrillator or emergency responders will come at some point.
Recognizing Cardiac Arrest
Regular checkups, screening for heart disease, and a heart-healthy lifestyle may all help lower your risk of sudden cardiac arrest. But, we hope that our guide has shed some light on the signs of cardiac arrest.
Next step, you’ll want to check out our health and lifestyles sections for more information about cardiovascular health.