Sudden Cardiac Arrest: A Fatal Condition without Warning

A sudden cardiac arrest is a life-threatening emergency that occurs when the heart ceases to beat. Getting treatment fast is necessary to prevent a fatality. 

Surviving a cardiac arrest is possible if there’s adequate medical care and a quick reaction. Unfortunately, this emergency is the major reason for death and is responsible for 300,000 to 450,000 deaths in the US every year.

Moreover, cardiac arrests lead to around half of the deaths associated with strokes and heart attacks. 

Cardiac Arrest Is Not the Same as a Heart Attack 

There’s a common misconception that sudden cardiac arrests are the same as heart attacks, but this isn’t true.

Namely, heart attacks occur when the blood flow toward the heart is blocked. On the other hand, cardiac arrest isn’t a result of a blockage. But, a heart attack may trigger changes in the electrical activity of the heart that may cause a cardiac arrest. 

Every person is at risk of cardiac arrest; but, there are ways that can help reduce your risk. 

Some of the preventive measures are no smoking and excessive intake of alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping up with your annual visits and screenings at the doctor’s office.

What Everyone Should Know about Cardiac Arrest?

A sudden cardiac arrest may occur to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. In this arrest, the heart’s rhythm becomes dangerous or it ceases entirely. 

Fast resuscitation and defibrillation within three minutes are critical for the person’s survival. Unfortunately, improper use of prescribed meds and recreational drugs can increase the risk of cardiac arrest even in individuals with no health issues.  

As a lot of cardiac arrests occur in public areas, there are a lot of places with AEDs like train stations, bus stations, stadiums, schools, offices, etc. 

This makes it easier for others to help while waiting for the first responders. 

If a person is experiencing a cardiac arrest, those nearby can call the ambulance and provide CPR and use the AED. If the responders arrive fast, the person has a higher chance of surviving.

This is why everyone plays their role in recognizing a cardiac arrest and doing the right actions to help save precious lives. 

Another important aspect is learning how to use an AED. they’re not difficult to use, but training definitely helps. You can get trained in CPR via a health organization or online. 

Why Does a Sudden Cardiac Arrest Happen?

Sudden cardiac arrests happen due to a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system. The reasons may be numerous, including heart attack, scar tissue, cardiomyopathy, changes in electrolyte levels, Commotio Cordist, etc.

Other triggers may be heart disease, pulmonary embolism, etc. 

The three main reasons for cardiac arrest:

  • Arrhythmia and ventricular fibrillation 

The electrical signals of the heart lead to an abnormal heartbeat. 

Ventricular fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that causes a rise in the speed of the heartbeat in the ventricle of the heart and results in a trembling instead of proper blood pumping

  • Enlarged heart

This condition happens when the muscle of the heart becomes thicker and dilates resulting in abnormal heart contractions. 

  • Coronary artery illness

This heart illness happens due to narrowed arteries which are thickened by plaque and thus, the blood flow to the heart is limited. 

When left untreated, it may provoke arrhythmia or heart failure that can cause cardiac arrest.