Cardiac Arrest

(Cardiopulmonary Arrest)

Definition

Cardiac arrest means that the heart suddenly stops beating. This is due to a problem with the heart's electrical system. When cardiac arrest occurs, emergency medical care needs to be provided right away. If it is not, the person can quickly die since blood is not being pumped throughout the body. Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack . When a person has a heart attack, the blood flow to the heart is interrupted. This may be due to problems with the coronary arteries, such as a build-up of plaque, a blood clot, or a thickening of the artery walls.
Electrical System of the Heart
Nucleus fact sheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Cardiac arrest may be caused by:
  • A rapid, irregular heart rhythm preventing any circulation of blood (most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest)—ventricular fibrillation
  • A rapid, but regular heart rhythm that, if sustained, may turn into ventricular fibrillation—ventricular tachycardia
  • Dramatic slowing of heart rate due to failure of its pacemaker or severe heart block (interference with electrical conduction)
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Choking or drowning
  • Electrocution
  • Hypothermia
  • Sudden loss of blood pressure
  • Complications from eating disorders
  • Unknown causes

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase the risk of cardiac arrest include:
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Enlarged heart
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Heart valves that do not function properly
  • Conditions affecting the heart's electrical system
  • Severe metabolic imbalances
  • Adverse drug effects, such as from drugs to treat abnormal heart rhythms
  • Lung conditions
  • Trauma to the chest
  • Extensive blood loss
  • Having an eating disorder
  • Excessive overexertion in people with heart disorders
  • Illicit drugs, such as cocaine use

leave comments
0
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals



June 2015

A meta-analysis found that mothers participating in a prenatal exercise group were less likely to have a large newborn, less likely to need a cesarean section, and no more likely to have a low birthweight baby than those who did not exercise. The study supports proper prenatal care advice which advocates for mothers to exercise during pregnancy if allowed by the physician.

dot separator
previous editions


May 2015

Chewing Gum After Surgery May Improve Digestive Tract Recovery
April 2015

Early Peanut Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Peanut Allergy in High Risk Children
March 2015

dashed separator

Advertisement

Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook