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Diseases & Conditions

Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac ArrestCausesDiagnosisPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatment

What is Cardiac arrest?

Cardiac arrest is a medical condition which arises when your heart starts beating quite quickly all of a sudden, rather than pumping blood to your brain and the body.

Causes of Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest occurs mainly because of ventricular fibrillation. Talking about ventricular fibrillation, it arises when the straightforward electrical activation of heart muscle is substituted by chaotic electrical routine. When this is the case, your heart will not beat properly and blood flow to the brain also get affected. Your brain can be damaged if the blood flow is not restore. Some of the other causes of circulatory arrest are mentioned below:

  • Loss of breathing
  • Trauma
  • Drowning
  • Choking
  • Electrocution

Congestive heart failure enhances the cardiopulmonary arrest risk. There are few individuals who are born with faulty electrical conducting systems. These individuals are more prone to the rhythm disturbances.

Diagnosis of Cardiac Arrest

Only your health care provider can be sure of the fact whether you are prone to cardiac arrest or not. To assess your risk, your health care provider may ask you to go for a below-mentioned diagnostic tests.

  • Chest x-ray
  • Stress test
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Echocardiogram

Prevention of Cardiac Arrest

To reverse a cardiac arrest, you need to go for an early cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation. These lifesaving routines must be implemented within two to three minutes after cardiac arrest. Any delay in this regard, reduces your chance of survival. Remember circulatory arrest is totally different from a heart attack.

Use of implantable defibrillators are recommended in high risk patients. These instruments are located under the skin in the chest wall. There are also wires that are attached to the patient heart. If there is a detection of ventricular fibrillation, patient heart will automatically get a shock and the heart beat is restored. As cardiac arrest strike all of a sudden, you need to be prepared for it well in advance.

In few conditions, number of heart medications can cause arrhythmias that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Irrespective of whether you are suffering from a organic heart disease or not, significant modifications in potassium and magnesium blood levels can also cause cardiac arrest. Therefore, make sure that you maintain your potassium and magnesium blood levels.

Cardiac arrest in young people

Sudden death is a rarity in people under the age bracket of 18 to 25 years. Often, people of this age suffer from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is hereditary in nature. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, your ventricle walls are going to be bigger than the normal. Because of this, pumping chamber of the heart becomes smaller and therefore your heart faces issues in blood pumping.

Risk factors of Cardiac Arrest

If you had a heart attack in the past or any of your family member has a previous record of cardiopulmonary arrest then you need to be very careful. Individuals with a low ejection fraction are also at a risk. Ejection fraction gives you a clear indication of how well your heart is functioning.

Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest

Individuals suffering from cardiac arrest may feel a racing heart beat. There is also a possibility of dizziness, which is often a sign of dangerous heart rhythm. You may lose consciousness as well.

Treatment for Cardiac Arrest

The most common method to treat cardiopulmonary arrest is defibrillation. With the help of a defibrillator, your heart starts behaving normally. There are external defibrillators available, which you find in emergency crews. It can also be implanted in your body to give you a much better protection. Recent study has come to the conclusion that patients of cardiac arrest given hypothermia instantly have a much better chance of surviving. Hypothermia involves cooling of the body and it reduces the intensity of brain injury.