Sudden cardiac arrest - Reason, treatment & recovery

Sudden cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness. Most of the time, the condition is caused by a problem with your heart's electrical system, which stops your heart from pumping blood to the rest of your body.

A sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, which happens when blood can't get to the part of the heart. But a heart attack can sometimes cause an electrical problem that causes the heart to stop beating suddenly.

Cardiac arrest happens when the heart stops pumping all of a sudden and out of the blue. If this happens, the brain and other important organs stop getting blood. Some types of arrhythmias stop the heart from pumping blood, which can lead to cardiac arrest. A medical emergency is a heart attack.

If you don't treat sudden cardiac arrest right away, it can kill you. Survival is possible if the right medical care is given quickly. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), using a defibrillator, or even just pushing on the chest can increase a person's chance of survival until help arrives.

What is meant by the term "sudden cardiac death"?

A sudden cardiac death, often known as SCD, is an unexpected sudden death. It is brought on by a lack of function in the heart, often known as sudden cardiac arrest. In the United States, sudden cardiac death accounts for the majority of deaths that are caused by natural causes. It is responsible for approximately 325,000 fatalities among adults each year. The cause of death in almost half of all cases of heart disease is sudden cardiac arrest.

Most sudden cardiac deaths happen to adults between the ages of 35 and 45. It happens twice as often to men and people who were assigned male at birth (AMAB) as it does to women and people who were assigned female at birth (AFAB). Only one or two out of every 100,000 children have this condition each year.

What is the difference between a sudden cardiac arrest and a heart attack?

A sudden heart attack happens when:

  • The heart's electrical system breaks down and becomes irregular all of a sudden.
  • The heart is beating too fast.
  • Ventricles may flutter or quiver (ventricular fibrillation).

Your heart can't pump blood because of these electrical changes. This means that blood can't get to the rest of your body. Because of this, this condition is fatal unless emergency care is given right away.

In the first few minutes, the biggest worry is that you won't get enough blood to your brain and will pass out. A heart attack is not the same as sudden cardiac arrest (myocardial infarction).

When one or more of your coronary arteries are blocked, you can have a heart attack. This keeps your heart from getting enough blood with oxygen in it. Heart damage can happen when oxygen in your blood can't get to your heart muscle.

What signs and symptoms are there?

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs symptom-free in more than half of all occurrences, and in those cases, it can be fatal.

The following are some of the possible symptoms of a sudden cardiac arrest:

  • Fainting (losing consciousness) (losing consciousness).
  • Rapid beating of the heart
  • Chest discomfort.
  • Dizziness.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Uneasy and shallow breaths
  • Having a queasy stomach and feeling like you need to throw up.

These signs indicate that a potentially life-threatening disturbance in the rhythm of the heart has begun, and that is why they are termed sudden cardiac death symptoms.

What causes a sudden cardiac arrest?

The majority of sudden cardiac arrests are brought on by conditions referred to as arrhythmias, which are abnormal heart rhythms. The most frequent form of arrhythmia that can be fatal is called ventricular fibrillation. This condition is characterised by a chaotic and disordered firing of impulses from the ventricles of your heart (lower chambers). If this occurs, your heart will be unable to pump blood effectively. If you don't get care, you could die in a matter of minutes.

Other abrupt cardiac arrest reasons include:

  • The disease of the coronary arteries
  • Heart defects that were congenital, or present at birth.
  • Alterations to the structure of your heart that are brought on by illness or infection.
  • The activity of an extreme nature or the loss of blood.

How do you treat sudden cardiac arrest?

You can treat sudden cardiac arrest and even make it go away. But emergency action needs to start right away. If treatment starts quickly after sudden cardiac arrest, as many as 90% of people can live. The rate goes down by about 10% for every minute that passes.

If you see someone having a sudden heart attack, do these things:

  • Even if you can only use your hands, start CPR. CPR can help someone live. It keeps the oxygen and blood flowing until help comes.
  • If there is an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) nearby, use it. CPR plus defibrillation rescues a person from sudden cardiac arrest. The best way to help the person live is to use an AED. The longer it takes until defibrillation, the less likely it is that the person will live.
  • If the person hasn't already gotten a shock from an AED, defibrillation can start their heart back up once emergency workers get there. Defibrillators give your heart a shock by placing paddles on your chest. Antiarrhythmics are drugs that are given through an IV and work to get the heart's electrical rhythm back to normal.

Most people need care in a hospital after a successful defibrillation to recover from the effects of a sudden cardiac arrest and to treat and prevent future heart problems.



How to lower the risk of sudden cardiac arrest?
You can lower risk by:

  • Visiting your doctor regularly.
  • Losing weight and eating low-fat.
  • avoiding cigarettes.
  • Taking cholesterol or arrhythmia drugs from your doctor.
  • Getting an ICD if your doctor advises it.
  • Getting recommended surgeries like angioplasty or catheter ablation.
  • If advised by your doctor, genetic testing for sudden cardiac death.
  • Teaching your family CPR and rapid care.

Should I expect sudden cardiac arrest?
90% of non-hospitalized sudden cardiac arrest victims die. This is frequently due to delayed assistance. Most home-based cardiac arrests occur. Every minute without support deprives your brain of oxygen.

Depending on medical treatment speed, sudden cardiac arrest survivors have different outlooks. They frequently need aid restoring abilities before their unexpected cardiac arrest. Brain injury can result from prolonged oxygen deprivation. Kidney, liver, and heart failure may follow.

What tests will diagnose sudden cardiac arrest?
Your doctor will conduct tests to determine the cause of your cardiac arrest to prevent future episodes. Possible tests

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) (ECG or EKG)
  • Heart MRI
  • Electrolyte blood testing for cardiac conduction
  • Monitoring
  • Echocardiogram
  • Catheterization
  • Electrophysiology

How do I keep myself healthy after a sudden heart attack?
For many people, surviving a sudden heart attack is just the beginning of a long road to recovery. Depending on how long your brain went without oxygen, you may have brain damage. This means that you might not be able to do everything you used to be able to do every day. You may also have problems with your mental health, such as stress and depression.

If there is a rehabilitation programme, you can use it to get your skills back. This will take some time and calm. Researchers have found that the quality of life of people who survived a sudden heart attack got better after six months.

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