Cardiac Arrest

Also called: SCA, Sudden cardiac death

The heart has an internal electrical system that controls the rhythm of the heartbeat. Problems can cause abnormal heart rhythms, called arrhythmias. There are many types of arrhythmia. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or it can stop beating. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart develops an arrhythmia that causes it to stop beating. This is different than a heart attack, where the heart usually continues to beat but blood flow to the heart is blocked.

There are many possible causes of SCA. They include coronary heart disease, physical stress, and some inherited disorders. Sometimes there is no known cause for the SCA.

Without medical attention, the person will die within a few minutes. People are less likely to die if they have early defibrillation. Defibrillation sends an electric shock to restore the heart rhythm to normal. You should give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to a person having SCA until defibrillation can be done.

If you have had an SCA, an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) reduces the chance of dying from a second SCA.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest

The following features are indicative of Cardiac Arrest:
  • sudden collapse
  • no pulse
  • no breathing
  • loss of consciousness

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Common Causes of Cardiac Arrest

The following are the most common causes of Cardiac Arrest:
  • coronary artery disease
  • heart attack
  • enlarged heart
  • valvular heart disease
  • congenital heart disease
  • electrical problems in the heart

Risk Factors for Cardiac Arrest

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Cardiac Arrest:
  • family history of coronary artery disease
  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • drinking too much alcohol

Prevention of Cardiac Arrest

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Cardiac Arrest. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • maintain healthy bodyweight
  • reduce high blood pressure levels
  • avoid smoking
  • eat heart healthy foods

Occurrence of Cardiac Arrest

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Cardiac Arrest cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Not common between 50K - 500K cases

Common Age Group

Cardiac Arrest can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Cardiac Arrest can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Cardiac Arrest

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Cardiac Arrest:
  • Electrocardiogram: To detect the electric activity of the heart
  • Blood Tests: To find out the levels of hormones and electrolytes into the blood
  • Chest X-ray: To check the size of the blood vessels
  • Echocardiogram: To identify whether an area of the heart has been damaged by a heart attack

Doctor for Diagnosis of Cardiac Arrest

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Cardiac Arrest:
  • Cardiologist

Complications of Cardiac Arrest if untreated

Yes, Cardiac Arrest causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Cardiac Arrest is left untreated:
  • brain damage
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Cardiac Arrest

The following procedures are used to treat Cardiac Arrest:
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: Maintains a flow of oxygen-rich blood to the body's vital organs
  • Coronary Angioplasty: Opens blocked coronary arteries
  • Coronary bypass surgery: Restores blood flow to heart
  • Corrective heart surgery: Correct abnormalities that improves heart rate and blood flow

Self-care for Cardiac Arrest

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Cardiac Arrest:
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Do regular exercise: Stay physically active by performing exercises

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Cardiac Arrest

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Cardiac Arrest:
  • Use traditional Chinese medicine: Yiqi Huoxue improves the heart function by inhibiting the apoptosis

Patient Support for Treatment of Cardiac Arrest

The following actions may help Cardiac Arrest patients:
  • Family Support: Promotes self care in heart failure

Time for Treatment of Cardiac Arrest

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Cardiac Arrest to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Cardiac Arrest.
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