Everything about Cardiac Arrest
Posted Oct 07, 2021 by Cura Hospitals
Cardiac arrest is a medical condition occurs due to sudden cessation of heart functioning. The function of heart is to send oxygenated blood to the body. Cardiac arrest is caused malfunctioning of heart’s electrical system. Due to the malfunctioning of heart’s electrical system, the hearts’ pumping system gets disrupted resulting in the stop of blood flow. During cardiac arrest a person loses consciousness suddenly and even may die for lack of immediate treatment.
Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest
Although cardiac arrest occurs suddenly, it shows certain symptoms which include:
- Sudden collapse
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of breathing
- No heartbeat
Often people experience certain symptoms before a complete cardiac arrest which are:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Feeling dizzy
- Chest pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Causes of Cardiac Arrest
Abnormal heart beating (arrhythmia) due to malfunctioning of heart’s electrical system causes cardiac arrest. The heart rate and rhythm is controlled by heart’s electrical system. Often heart beats irregularly which lasts for sometime and is considered harmless. But arrhythmia which occurs in the lower chamber of heart (ventricle) causes cardiac arrest. During cardiac arrest rapid, erratic electrical impulses force ventricles quiver uselessly instead of pumping blood (ventricle fibrillation).
Cardiac arrest also occurs due to certain heart ailments. These are:
- Coronary artery disease: People who have coronary artery disease suffer from cardiac arrest. When the arteries become clogged with cholesterol and other deposits, blood flow to the heart reduces and causes coronary artery disease.
- Heart attack: Often a heart attack due to severe coronary artery disease causes ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest. The scar tissue after a heart attack leads to abnormalities in heart rhythm.
- Enlarged heart (Cardiomyopathy): When heart's muscular walls stretch and enlarge or thicken, it is called Cardiomyopathy which also causes arrhythmias.
- Valvular heart disease: Valvular heart disease increases the risk of developing arrhythmia.
- Congenital Heart Disease: Due to congenital heart disease children or adolescents experience cardiac arrest.
- Electrical problems in the heart: Cardiac arrest also occurs due to a problem in heart's electrical system itself instead of a problem with the heart muscle or valves.
Risk Factors behind Cardiac Arrest
There are certain risk factors behind experiencing cardiac arrest such as:
- A family history of coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- An inactive lifestyle
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Chronic kidney disease
- Imbalance of Potassium, Magnesium
- Previous history of heart attack
Diagnosis of Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest can be diagnosed by ECG, Blood test, imaging like Chest X-Ray, Echocardiogram, Nuclear scan, and Coronary Catheterization etc.
- ECG: During ECG, abnormal heart rhythm, abnormal electrical patterns, such as a prolonged QT interval can be detected.
- Blood Test: Blood test detects the levels of potassium, magnesium, hormones and other chemicals that can affect heart functioning.
- Chest X-Ray: Chest X-Ray reveals size and shape of heart and its blood vessels. It also points out if there is an incidence of heart failure.
- Echocardiogram: Using sound waves an image of heart is produced. It helps identifying if heart is damaged by a heart attack or there are problems in heart valves.
- Nuclear scan: This test is done to identify blood flow problems to the heart. During nuclear scan a small amount of radioactive material, such as thallium is injected into bloodstream while special cameras detect the radioactive material as it flows through the heart and lungs.
- Coronary catheterization: This is done to detect areas of blockage in the heart. Injecting a liquid dye into the arteries of heart through a long, thin tube (catheter) which moves through an artery, usually in the arm, to arteries in the heart areas, the blockages are detected.
Treatment of Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest needs immediate treatment as well as long term treatment. Immediate treatment involves CPR and Defibrillation.
- CPR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is given immediately to treat sudden cardiac arrest.
- Defibrillation: Defibrillation is a device which sends an electrical shock to the heart. Defibrillation causes the heart stop momentarily only to go back to its normal rhythm.
Long term treatment includes:
- Medication: doctors prescribe anti-arrhythmic drugs for emergency or long-term treatment of arrhythmias. Beta blockers are commonly used in people at risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
- Implantable Cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD): ICD detects slow heart rhythm as well as dangerous heart rhythm change and sends out low- or high-energy shocks to reset the heart to a normal rhythm.
- Coronary Angioplasty: this procedure is done to open blocked coronary arteries so blood can flow more freely to the heart reducing the risk of serious arrhythmia.
- Coronary bypass surgery: this surgery improves the blood supply to the heart and reduces the frequency of abnormal heart beatings.
- Radiofrequency catheter ablation: With this procedure it is possible to block a single abnormal electrical pathway causing arrhythmia.
- Corrective Heart Surgery: this surgery is done to rectify congenital heart disease.
CURA, Multispeciality Hospital Bangalore has an excellent world class set up to treat patients suffering from minor to severe ailments. Our doctors, nurses and support staffs are very much caring and sincere about their jobs. In our Out-patient Department and Emergency the attending doctors and nurses treat the patients with empathy. With their immediate intervention, and superior experiences they have saved the lives of hundreds and thousands of accident victims and of those who require instant medical interventions.