Cardiac arrest occurs when a person’s heart ceases to circulate blood through the body. Although some people use it as a synonym for “heart attack,” the two are not the same. Heart attacks may be the leading cause of cardiac arrest, but numerous other conditions can also cause the heart to stop. Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. Unless the signs are noticed and addressed quickly, cardiac arrest can lead to death in a matter of minutes.
Causes of Cardiac Arrest
Most cases of cardiac arrest are caused by coronary heart disease, which cause blood flow to the heart to be disrupted. Heart attacks occur when blood flow to the heart is so restricted that the heart begins dying. Around 30% of all cases of cardiac arrest are caused by heart attacks, more than any other cause. Other heart diseases can also lead to cardiac arrest, however, such as irregular heartbeat. Non-heart-related causes of cardiac arrest include trauma, blood loss, overdose, and drowning.
Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest
The signs of cardiac arrest are not always apparent to people without medical training. For example, many people do not realize that heart attacks can occur without pain. Symptoms such as shortness of breath (especially lying down), excessive sweating, and nausea are the most common signs of impending cardiac arrest, even if there is no pain or pressure on the chest. Medical professionals are trained to recognize the signs and should act accordingly.
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