Sudden Cardiac Arrest

  • An Overview

There are various things that can cause a sudden heart attack, such as coronary artery disease, a heart attack caused by a blood clot, a heart attack caused by a tear in the heart muscle, and a heart. There are many potential causes of sudden heart attacks, such as blocked arteries, an irregular heartbeat, a family history of heart disease, and high blood pressure. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is important to consult with a doctor immediately: chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, lightheadedness or dizziness. These symptoms may indicate that you are having a heart attack and require immediate medical attention..

Sudden cardiac arrest isn’t the same as a heart attack, when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked. However, a heart attack can sometimes trigger an electrical disturbance that leads to sudden cardiac arrest.
If not treated immediately, sudden cardiac arrest can lead to death. Survival is possible with fast, appropriate medical care. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), using a defibrillator — or even just giving compressions to the chest — can improve the chances of survival until emergency workers arrive.

Symptoms of Sudden Cardiac arrest

Signs of sudden cardiac arrest are immediate and drastic and include:
• Sudden collapse
• No pulse
• No breathing
• Loss of consciousness
Sometimes other signs and symptoms occur before sudden cardiac arrest. These might include:
• Chest discomfort
• Shortness of breath
• Weakness
• Fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart (palpitations)
But sudden cardiac arrest often occurs with no warning.

Sudden heart attacks might be caused by a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

Heart attack: When the heart muscle suddenly doesn’t get enough blood because one or more of its coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked.

Aortic aneurysm: When the aorta, the large artery that carries blood away from your heart, swells and bulges. If the aneurysm ruptures, it can cause sudden death.

Coronary artery spasm: When one of the coronary arteries (the ones that supply blood to your heart muscle) suddenly narrows or closes up. This can cause sudden and severe chest pain.

Causes of Cardiac arrest

There are many potential causes of sudden heart attacks, including blockages in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle, abnormalities in heart rhythm, and problems with the electrical signals that control the heartbeat.
There are many potential causes of sudden heart attacks, including:

  • a buildup of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • thickening and hardening of the arterial walls (arteriosclerosis)
  • coronary artery spasms
  • a tear in the inner lining of an artery (dissection)
  • blood clots that form in the coronary arteries (thrombosis)
  • heart failure

There are many potential causes of sudden heart attacks, including blocked arteries (coronary artery disease), abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), and damage to the heart muscle.Some other possible causes include:

  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Drug abuse
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
    There are various things that can cause a sudden heart attack, such as coronary artery disease, a heart attack caused by a blood clot, a heart attack caused by a tear in the heart muscle, and a heart attack caused by spasms in the coronary arteries.
    There are many causes of sudden heart attacks. Some common causes include heart disease, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Sudden heart attacks can also be caused by an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), a heart attack that occurs without any warning signs (silent heart attack), or a tear in the wall of the heart (myocardial infarction).

Diagnosis

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). This first test done to diagnose a heart attack records electrical signals as they travel through the heart. Sticky patches (electrodes) are attached to the chest and sometimes the arms and legs. Signals are recorded as waves displayed on a monitor or printed on paper. An ECG can show if you are having or have had a heart attack.
  • Blood tests. Certain heart proteins slowly leak into the blood after heart damage from a heart attack. Blood tests can be done to check for these proteins (cardiac markers).
  • Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray shows the condition and size of the heart and lungs.
  • Echocardiogram. Sound waves (ultrasound) create images of the moving heart. This test can show how blood moves through the heart and heart valves. An echocardiogram can help identify whether an area of your heart has been damaged.
  • Coronary catheterization (angiogram). A long, thin tube (catheter) is inserted into an artery, usually in the leg, and guided to the heart. Dye flows through the catheter to help the arteries show up more clearly on images made during the test.
  • Cardiac CT or MRI. These tests create images of the heart and chest. Cardiac CTscans use X-rays. Cardiac MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create images of your heart. For both tests, you usually lie on a table that slides inside a long tubelike machine. Each test can be used to diagnose heart problems. They can help show the severity of heart damage.

Treatment

Each minute after a heart attack, more heart tissue is damaged or dies. Urgent treatment is needed to fix blood flow and restore oxygen levels. Oxygen is given immediately. Specific heart attack treatment depends on whether there’s a partial or complete blockage of blood flow.
Medications. Medications to treat a heart attack might include:
Aspirin. Aspirin reduces blood clotting. It helps keep blood moving through a narrowed artery. If you called 911 or your local emergency number, you may be told to chew aspirin. Emergency medical providers may give you aspirin immediately.
Clot busters (thrombolytics or fibrinolytics). These drugs help break up any blood clots that are blocking blood flow to the heart. The earlier a thrombolytic drug is given after a heart attack, the less the heart is damaged and the greater the chance of survival.
Other blood-thinning medications. A medicine called heparin may be given by IVor injection. Heparin makes the blood less sticky and less likely to form clots.
Nitroglycerin. This medication widens the blood vessels. It helps improve blood flow to the heart. Nitroglycerin is used to treat sudden chest pain (angina). It’s given as a pill under the tongue, as a pill to swallow or as an injection.
Morphine. This medicine is given to relieve chest pain that doesn’t go away with nitroglycerin.
Beta blockers. These medications slow the heartbeat and decrease blood pressure. Beta blockers can limit the amount of heart muscle damage and prevent future heart attacks. They are given to most people who are having a heart attack.
ACE inhibitors. These drugs lower blood pressure and reduce stress on the heart.
Statins. These drugs help lower unhealthy cholesterol levels. Too much bad (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) cholesterol can clog arteries.

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