Sudden Cardiac Arrest – What Exactly Happens ?

Sudden Cardiac Arrest – What Exactly Happens ?

When the heart suddenly stops beating, this is known as sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This is a medical emergency that must be addressed immediately. Sudden Cardiac Arrest that is not treated promptly results in death (called “sudden cardiac death”).
Sudden Cardiac Arrest

The heart has an internal electrical system that keeps it beating normally. A problem with the electrical system occurs in SCA. This results in an irregular heart rhythm. The most common abnormal heart rhythm in Sudden Cardiac Arrest is known as “ventricular fibrillation”. The lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) twitch but do not pump blood during this rhythm.

SCA is not the same as a heart attack. During a heart attack, one of the arteries that supply blood to the heart becomes blocked, causing the heart muscle to work less efficiently.

What factors contribute to Sudden Cardiac Arrest ?

SCA is more likely to occur in people who already have a heart problem, whether they are aware of it or not. SCA can be caused by a variety of heart problems, including

  • coronary heart disease occurs when the arteries that carry blood to the heart become clogged with fatty deposits.
  • A heart attack
  • Thickening of the heart muscle is known as “cardiomyopathy”.
  • Other electrical system problems in the Heart
  • Heart failure, occurs when the heart does not pump as well as it should

What are the signs and symptoms of Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Many people have no “warning” symptoms prior to their SCA. However, up to half of the people have symptoms prior to their SCA. These can occur either immediately before or in the days prior to their SCA. Symptoms include chest pain or difficulty breathing; feeling their increase in heart beating, skipping beats, or beating out of sync; and feeling weak or dizzy.

SCA causes a person to lose consciousness, have no pulse, and stop breathing.


What is the treatment for SCA?

SCA must be treated immediately with both:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)– CPR is a method of getting blood and oxygen moving through a person’s body after their heart has stopped beating. It entails “compressions,” which occur when another person presses hard and fast (repeatedly) on the person’s chest. This squeezes the heart and restarts blood flow, though not as effective as when the heart pumps blood on its own.
  • Defibrillation entails using a device to deliver an electrical shock to the heart. This shock can sometimes restart a normal heart rhythm. When defibrillation is performed immediately, it has the best chance of working.

Your doctor will also investigate the cause of your SCA and treat it if it is treatable after the survival from SCA. Your doctor will conduct numerous tests to determine the cause. Typically, these are:

  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that detects electrical activity in your heart.
  • An X-ray of the chest
  • Blood tests
  • An echocardiogram (or “echo”) – This test creates a picture of your heart as it beats using sound waves.
  • Other imaging studies – Images of the inside of the body are created during imaging tests.

Your doctor may decide to perform a procedure known as Cardiac Catheterization, also known as “cardiac cath.” The doctor will insert a thin tube into a blood vessel in your leg or arm to accomplish this. The tube is then moved up to your heart. The doctor can perform tests or unclog a clogged artery with the tube in place.

The majority of people who survive SCA are also given an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD). An ICD is a device that is implanted under the skin near the heart. It is capable of detecting abnormal heartbeats and treating them with an electrical shock.

How will my life be if I survive?

It is partly determined by what caused your SCA and how quickly it was treated. Some people recover completely from SCA with no long-term complications. However, many survivors have long-term brain issues.

As per the Best cardiologist in Delhi Dr. Rajiv Agarwal you should continue your medicines, Do regular cardiac exercises as advised, Maintain a Healthy Weight and Have a Healthy diet to reduce further damage to the heart, and Regular checkups to see the Health of the Heart.


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