The abrupt loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness is known as sudden cardiac arrest. The condition is usually caused by an electrical problem in your heart, which disrupts your heart’s pumping action and stops blood flow to your body.
A heart attack, in which blood flow to a portion of the heart is interrupted, is not the same as sudden cardiac arrest. A heart attack, on the other hand, can occasionally cause an electrical disruption that results in rapid cardiac arrest.
Sudden cardiac arrest can be fatal if not treated quickly. With prompt and adequate medical attention, survival is feasible. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), using a defibrillator, or just compressing the chest might increase the odds of survival until emergency personnel arrives.
What is sudden Cardiac Death?
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is sudden death. It is caused by a decrease in heart function (sudden cardiac arrest). Adults in their mid-30s to mid-40s are the most vulnerable to sudden cardiac death. It affects men and persons born with a male gender twice as often as it does women and those born with a female gender. This illness is uncommon in children, affecting about 1 to 2 children per 100,000 per year.
What happens during sudden cardiac death?
When you experience a sudden cardiac arrest, your organs are deprived of oxygen. This is deadly unless you obtain prompt aid to provide oxygen to your brain and other essential organs.
What distinguishes an Abrupt Cardiac Arrest from a Heart Attack?
A sudden cardiac arrest occurs when you are:
- The electrical system of the heart malfunctions and becomes erratic.
- The heartbeat is dangerously rapid.
- Fluttering or quivering of the ventricles
Because of these electrical alterations in your heart, it is unable to pump blood, and blood cannot reach the rest of your body. As a result, unless emergency care is initiated quickly, this situation is lethal.
The main fear in the first few minutes is that the blood supply to your brain will be so reduced that you will lose consciousness. Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack (myocardial infarction). A heart attack occurs when one or more of your coronary arteries get blocked. This deprives your heart of adequate oxygen-rich blood. Heart damage can occur when oxygen in your blood does not reach your heart muscle.
What are the Symptoms of Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
More than half of the time, sudden cardiac arrest occurs without any preceding symptoms.
Symptoms of a sudden cardiac arrest may include:
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of breath.
- Racing heartbeat
- Feeling sick to your stomach and throwing up.
This suggests the onset of a potentially dangerous heart rhythm problem, which is why these are also indicators of sudden cardiac death.
Causes of Cardiac Arrest
Almost every known heart disease can result in ciy. Most cardiac arrests occur because the electrical system of a damaged heart fails. This problem results in an abnormal cardiac rhythm, such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. Some cardiac arrests are also caused by abnormally slow heartbeats.
Heart muscle thickening: High blood pressure, heart valve dysfunction, and other factors can all cause damage to the heart muscle. A damaged heart muscle can increase your risk of sudden cardiac arrest, particularly if you already have heart failure. Find out more about cardiomyopathy.
Electrical anomalies: These conditions, including Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome and Long QT syndrome, can result in sudden cardiac arrest in children and adolescents.
Anomalies of the blood vessels: These uncommon occurrences are more common in the coronary arteries and aorta. When these problems exist, adrenaline produced during severe physical exertion might cause abrupt cardiac arrest.
Medication for the heart: Specific heart treatments can lay the groundwork for arrhythmias that induce sudden cardiac arrest in certain circumstances. (However, even at typical dosages, antiarrhythmic medicines used to treat arrhythmias can occasionally cause ventricular arrhythmias. This is known as a “proarrhythmic” impact.) Significant variations in potassium and magnesium levels in the blood (due to diuretics, for example) can potentially trigger life-threatening arrhythmias and cardiac arrest.
Scarring of the cardiac tissue: It might be the effect of a previous heart attack or something else. A damaged or enlarged heart, for whatever reason, is more likely to develop life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. In individuals with atherosclerotic heart disease, the first six months following a heart attack are a high-risk period for sudden cardiac arrest.
You may lower your risk in a variety of ways, including
- Attending your regular check-ups with your healthcare practitioner.
- Changing to a healthier lifestyle, such as decreasing weight and eating a low-fat diet.
- Abstaining from smoking and other tobacco products.
- Taking the drugs prescribed by your doctor for high cholesterol or arrhythmia.
- Obtaining an implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) if your doctor advises it.
- Having treatments or surgeries recommended by your healthcare practitioners, such as angioplasty or catheter ablation.
- Getting genetic testing if your doctor recommends it to check for probable reasons of sudden cardiac death.
- Informing your family about the significance of prompt medical attention and learning CPR.
Every two years, high school and college athletes should receive a cardiac screening. This should involve a review of their personal and family history (updated annually) as well as a physical examination. If an initial assessment reveals any concerns, their sports physician may prescribe more testing, such as an electrocardiogram. If your doctor feels you have a cardiac condition, you should be sent to a cardiologist.
Surviving a sudden cardiac arrest is a frightening affair. You’ll need time to heal and work on returning to your previous activities. Maintain your follow-up appointments with your healthcare practitioner. If there is something you don’t understand, don’t be hesitant to ask questions. You may feel more secure if your family takes CPR training so that they can assist you if you suffer another sudden heart arrest.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.