Each year in the United States, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital setting, resulting in 325,000 deaths annually.
Cardiac Arrest Vs. Heart Attack
Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops pumping, its electrical system malfunctions causing it to stop beating properly. Heart attack is often incorrectly used to describe cardiac arrest, but they are not the same. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked
Although the two conditions are different, they are linked. While most heart attacks don’t lead to cardiac arrest, it does increase the risk as it can occur after a heart attack or during recovery. Cardiomyopathy, heart disease, heart failure, arrythmias, ventricular fribrillation, and long Q-T syndrome can also lead to cardiac arrest.
Signs of Cardiac Arrest
There are often no warning signs, but these may occur:
- Weakness or fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
Symptoms are often immediate and drastic, including:
- Loss of consciousness
- No pulse
- Little to no breathing
What to Do
It is fatal but reversible if it is treated quickly. Your first step if you encounter someone experiencing cardiac arrest is to call 9-1-1. If an automated external defibrillator is available find it and use it as soon as possible. CPR should also be started as soon as possible and continued until emergency medical services arrive.
Prevention is the best course of when it comes to any issue with the heart. Simply living a healthy lifestyle greatly reduces your risk of issue.
These quick steps are key to achieving a heart-healthy lifestyle: