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Waht is Cardiac Arrest? Signs and Symptoms of a Cardiac Arrest?

by Yashoda Hospital Yashoda Hospital
Cardiac arrest is a grave heart condition. It is the abrupt loss of the heart function in a person wherein the heart fails to beat or pump, all of a sudden. It is also called sudden cardiac arrest as it happens abruptly and can be deadly, if necessary measures are not taken right away. Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone with or without pre-requisite heart conditions. A large number of cardiac arrest cases are experienced outside the hospital setting and evidently require immediate health assistance. With an immediate and appropriate response, we can help prevent any person from succumbing to this deadly attack, thus saving lives.

How is cardiac arrest different from a heart attack?

Sudden cardiac arrest and heart attack are two distinct heart conditions which many people mistake as one and the same thing. A heart attack happens when there is obstruction of blood flow to the heart which does not necessarily halt the heart from beating, whereas a sudden cardiac arrest is when heart malfunctions, leading to sudden loss of heart beat. It is crucial to understand the difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack in order to take appropriate measures.

What causes cardiac arrest?

An electrical system controls and manages your heartbeat; its rate and rhythm. When there is a disruption in the heart's electrical system, the heartbeat becomes irregular and abnormal. This abnormality in the heartbeat is known as arrhythmias. Arrhythmia can be of different types based on the varying heartbeat rates- from slow to fast, which can cause cardiac arrest.There are quite a few factors that can trigger sudden cardiac arrest with the two most 
common being ventricular fibrillation and atrial fibrillation.

Ventricular fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that happens when the ventricles or lower chambers of the heart do not beat normally and flutter out of control. Ventricular fibrillation is the most frequent cause of sudden cardiac arrest and followed by death. 

Atrial fibrillation is another type of arrhythmia that happens when the upper chambers or the atria of the heart fail to send correct electrical impulses and consequently, the ventricles fail to plump blood from the heart to the rest of the body. This failure to plump blood can lead to a cardiac arrest.

Who is at risk of a cardiac arrest?

It is true that a sudden cardiac arrest can happen anyone, even those people who have had no known heart disease. However, there are certain heart conditions and health factors that can increase your risk of a cardiac arrest. These conditions are:

• Coronary Heart Disease

Majority of people with coronary heart disease suffer from a sudden cardiac, consequently. Coronary heart disease begins when the coronary arteries are clogged with cholesterol and other deposits, preventing the heart to receive blood. This can obstruct the heart from functioning properly.


Valvular heart disease leads to leaking or narrowing of your heart valves. In other words, the blood circulating through the heart can overload the chambers with blood or fail to fill them as required. The stress and strain on the chambers and muscle of the heart can develop arrhythmia. 

• Large Heart 

When your heart's muscular walls stretch and swell, they increase your risk of a possiblecardiac arrest. An enlarged heart can cause damage to the heart’s muscles and lead to arrhythmia. 

• Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease implies those people born with a serious heart problem. Children or adolescents who have congenital heart disease may suffer from a sudden cardiac arrest. Even adults who’ve had surgery done for a congenital heart problem are still at the greater risk of a
sudden cardiac arrest.

• Electrical Impulse Problems

People with problems in the heart’s electrical system rather than in the valves and muscles are also at risk of a sudden cardiac death. These problems in the heart’s electrical system are called primary heart rhythm abnormalities, including heart conditions such as long QT syndrome and Brugada syndrome.There are a number of other risk factors for sudden cardiac arrest such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking or vaping, sedentary or inactive lifestyle, obesity, family history of heart disease, history of a previous heart attack, substance abuse, and nutritional imbalance such as low potassium or magnesium levels. Also, males are more at 
risk of a cardiac arrest than females; likewise, growing old can increase the risk of a sudden cardiac arrest.

What are the signs and symptoms of a cardiac arrest?

Knowing and identifying symptoms of a cardiac arrest early when they occur, is crucial so that one can seek the right treatment at the right time. If you are in cardiac arrest, you may experience a racing heartbeat, feel dizzy, be short of breath, feel fatigued, or even puke. Any of any these symptoms should not be ignored. Time is of the essence and seeking medical assistance promptly if the symptoms persist is a must. However, not all cardiac arrests occur with prior symptoms as they could be immediate and drastic. Seek emergency help if you or someone you are with experiences chest pain, no pulse, breathing problem or no breathing, unconsciousness, etc.

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Created on Aug 18th 2021 04:40. Viewed 220 times.

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