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Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest is a sudden loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness, usually caused by an electrical problem in the heart. It can be caused by several factors, including heart disease, heart attack, trauma, drowning, electrocution, drug overdose or other health conditions.

Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency and requires prompt action, including calling for emergency medical services and performing CPR if trained to do so. If not treated immediately, cardiac arrest can lead to death within a few minutes.

Early recognition of the symptoms of cardiac arrest and prompt treatment can increase the chances of survival.

There are several causes of cardiac arrest, including:
  • Coronary artery disease: This is the most common cause of cardiac arrest and is caused by the buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart.

  • Heart attack: A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked, which can cause damage to the heart muscle and increase the risk of cardiac arrest.

  • Structural heart problems: Certain heart conditions, such as cardiomyopathy (weakened heart muscle) and heart valve problems, can increase the risk of cardiac arrest.

  • Arrhythmias: Abnormal heart rhythms, known as arrhythmias, can cause the heart to suddenly stop beating effectively.

  • Electrical problems in the heart: Conditions such as long QT syndrome and Brugada syndrome can cause the heart's electrical system to malfunction and increase the risk of cardiac arrest.

  • Drug and alcohol abuse: Substance abuse can affect the heart's electrical system and increase the risk of cardiac arrest.