Cardiac Arrest: Causes, Symptoms and treatment

Cardiac arrest is a major cardiac problem. If there’s a cardiac arrest, your heart stops beating or loss of heart function. It’s also referred to as sudden cardiac death.

Your heart rate is regulated by electric impulses. As these pulses change pattern, the heart rate becomes irregular. It’s also commonly known as arrhythmia. Some of the arrhythmias are slow, some are fast. Cardiac arrest happens when the heartbeat stops.

Cardiac arrest is a very serious medical problem. The Institute of Medicine reports that over half a million people in the U.S. go into cardiac arrest each year. Death or disability can result from the disease. If you or anyone is experiencing symptoms of cardiac arrest, call for emergency medical help immediately. It can be life-threatening. Immediate intervention and treatment have the potential to save a life.

What Causes Cardiac Arrest?

Several factors may result in sudden cardiac arrest. Two of the most frequent are ventricular or atrial fibrillation.

Ventricular Fibrillation

Four chambers in your heart. The two lower chambers are the ventricles. In ventricular fibrillation, these chambers are shaking uncontrollably. This provokes a radical change in the heart rhythm. (1)

The ventricles start pumping ineffectively, significantly reducing the amount of blood pumped into the body. Sometimes the blood flow stops completely. The result may be sudden cardiac death.

The most common reason for cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation.

Atrial Fibrillation

The heart may also stop to beat effectively after arrhythmias in the upper chambers. They are known as atria. (1)(2)

Atrial fibrillation begins when the sinoatrial node (SA) does not send the right electrical pulses. You will find your SA node in the right atrium. It controls how fast the heart pumps blood. When the electrical pulse enters atrial fibrillation, the ventricles cannot effectively pump blood to the body.

Who Is at Risk for Cardiac Arrest?

There are heart conditions and health factors that may increase the risk of cardiac arrest.

Coronary Heart Disease

Such heart disease starts in the coronary arteries. arteries supply blood to heart muscle itself. When they’re stuck, there’s no blood in your heart. It can stop operating correctly. (1)

Large Heart

The fact that your heart is abnormally large increases the risk of cardiac arrest. A large heart can fail to beat properly. The muscle can be more vulnerable to damage as well.

Irregular Heart Valves

Valve disease may cause heart valves to leak or become narrower. This means that the blood flowing in the heart overloads the blood chambers or does not fill them at full capacity. The chambers may become weaker or larger.

Congenital Heart Disease

There are people who are born with heart damage or injuries. This is referred to as congenital heart disease. Sudden cardiac arrest can occur among children born with a serious heart condition.

Electrical Impulse Problems

Problems with the electrical system in your heart can increase your risk for sudden cardiac death. These conditions are referred to as primary cardiac disorders.

Additional risk factors for cardiac arrest are:

  • smoking
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity
  • family history of heart condition.
  • Previous heart attack history
  • older than 45 years for men and older than 55 years for women.
  • male gender
  • substance abuse
  • low levels of potassium and magnesium.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest

The first symptoms of cardiac arrest are frequently precursors. Being treated before your heart stops may save your life.

If you are suffering from cardiac arrest, you can:

  • short of breath
  • feel fatigued or weak
  • become dizzy
  • vomit
  • experience heart palpitations

Immediate emergency care is required if you or a family member experiences the following symptoms:

  • collapse
  • chest pain
  • no pulse
  • Difficulty breathing or not breathing
  • loss of consciousness

Cardiac arrest may not experience any symptoms before it happens. If you have persistent symptoms, ask for quick medical attention.

Diagnosing Cardiac Arrest

During a heart event that makes your heart stop beating effectively, it is essential to consult a physician immediately. Medical therapy will focus on the circulation of blood to your body. Your doctor will probably conduct a test called an EKG to determine the type of unusual rhythm that your heart experiences. To treat the disease, your physician will probably use defibrillators to shock your heart. An electrical shock can often re-establish a normal heartbeat.

Additional tests may also be used after the cardiac event:

  • Blood tests: may be used to investigate for signs of heart attack. They may also monitor potassium and magnesium levels.
  • Chest X-ray: may search for other symptoms of heart disease.

Treating Cardiac Arrest

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a type of emergency treatment in the event of cardiac arrest. Defibrillation is one more. These therapies make your heart beat once it stops.

If someone survive a cardiac arrest, your physician may prescribe one or more therapies to reduce the risk of another stroke.

  • Medication: can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Surgery: may repair damaged blood vessels or cardiac valves. It can also bypass or eliminate arterial blockages.
  • Exercise: may lead to improvements in cardiovascular healthy exercise.
  • Dietary changes: may help to reduce cholesterol.

Long Term Outlook of Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest can lead to death. However, a quick cure increases your chances of survival. The treatment is more efficient in a few minutes after arrest.

If you have gone into cardiac arrest, it is important to understand why. Your long-term prospects will depend on why you have suffered cardiac arrest. Your doctor can tell you about treatment options to help protect your heart and prevent it from recurring.

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