What is Cardiac-Arrest?

What is Cardiac-Arrest & Why is it Important to Know About?

Sudden cardiac arrest is a silent killer of over 450,000 people a year. Silent because, it is often overlooked, but deadly none the less. 

Cardiac arrest occurs when an electrical malfunction in the heart causes it to beat erratically and irregularly. The irregular rhythm occasionally causing the heart to stop beating altogether, this is when death occurs. There are two abnormal rhythms that the heart hears: 1.) ventricular tachycardia or 2.) ventricular fibrillation. 

1. Ventricular Tachycardia:

  • Heartbeat is TOO FAST
  • Starts in the lower chambers of the heart
  • Causes: 
    • Lack of oxygen
    • Cardiomyopathy
    • Medications
    • Sarcoidosis

2.  Ventricular Fibrillation (v-fib):

  • Heartbeat is TOO FAST
  • Lower chambers quiver and the heart can’t pump blood, causing cardiac arrest.

What Can You Do About Cardiac-Arrest?

Despite cardiac arrest being one of the most prolific killers in the U.S., there are many things a person can do to educate, prevent, or stop the cardiac arrest.

How To Save Someone Who is in Cardiac-Arrest:

  1. Call 911
  2. An Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, delivers an electrical shock to the heart, with the end goal resulting in the heart restoring its natural rhythm. 
  3. If an AED isn’t present or visible, another option is to preform CPR until medical help arrives. 


The picture shows a general example of what an AED in public will look like.
AED’s are placed in public places and are designed with the intent for potential users to have minimal to no training in using one.

The American Heart Associations TWO STEPS TO SAVE A LIFE: Hands Only CPR

The Hard Truth

98%

Chance of death after suffering from Sudden Cardiac - Arrest

38%

Women die more than men after suffering a heart attack

10%

Sudden - Cardiac Arrest occurs among people less than 40 years old

450,000

People die every year from Sudden Caridac - Arrest

Educate Yourself & Others About Cardiac-Arrest

Being aware of a situation is the biggest step in fighting the rising number of sudden cardiac-deaths. Cardiac-arrest is usually overlooked and typically confused with a heart attack, therefore, knowing and understanding cardiac-arrest’s symptoms and risk factors is important.

a. Symptoms of Cardiac-Arrest

Symptoms of cardiac-arrest are immediate and drastic, usually with no warning and result in death if nothing is done to stop it. 

  • Sudden collapse
  • No pulse
  • No breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

Signs and symptoms that can precede cardiac-arrest are: 

  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Blackouts
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Palpitations
  • Vomiting

b. Are You At Risk For Sudden Cardiac-Arrest?

Yes, everyone is at risk for cardiac-arrest however, there are people who pose a  higher risk of cardiac-arrest occurring to them. People who pose a higher risk are people who:

  • Have a family history of coronary artery disease
  • Smoke
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high blood cholesterol 
  • Are obese
  • Have diabetes
  • Have a sedentary lifestyle
  • Consume too much alcohol
  • Have had a previous episode of cardiac-arrest
  • Have a history of heart attacks
  • Have family history of heart diseases

c. When Should You Consider Seeing a Doctor?

  • If you’re having frequent chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeats
  • Unexplained wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Fainting or near fainting

***If these symptoms are on going and regular you should call 911 or emergency medical help.

d. Results from Cardiac-Arrest?

  • Death: 
    The irregular rhythm of the heart during cardiac-arrest, causes the heart fail all together and stop beating, resulting in death. 
  • Brain Damage:
    When the heart stops, the lack of oxygenated blood can result in permanent brain damage. 

***Death or brain damage can occur within 4-6 minutes. So act fast!!!

Cardiac-Arrest vs. Heart Attack: What's The Difference?