Whenever characters in movies or television shows have heart attacks, the event is portrayed as dramatic—and there’s rarely any doubt about what’s happening. Because of this, many people expect heart attacks to come with chest-clutching pain and collapse. However, according to research from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, 45 percent of heart attacks are considered “silent heart attacks.”
The knowledge that CPR helps save lives certainly isn’t new, but a study presented in November at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions sought to explore just how long and to what degree CPR could help cardiac arrest patients. Since the majority of cardiac arrests—around 80%—occur outside of the hospital, the significance of lifesaving techniques is of particular interest.
This study, completed by the Department of Cardiology, CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care at Surugadai Nihon University Hospital in Tokyo, examined data collected from non-hospital cardiac arrests in Japan happening between 2005 and 2011. The researchers compared the survivors’ brain function with how much time passed between their initial collapse and the return of normal blood flow.
In our previous post, we talked about the causes and risk factors of sudden cardiac arrest. Today, we will explain how the condition is diagnosed and treated.
Sudden cardiac arrest refers to a condition that causes the heart to lose function suddenly. It usually happens because of an electrical malfunction that causes the heart to lose its ability to pump blood to other parts of the body, and it also results in loss of breathing and consciousness. This condition is different from a heart attack, which is caused by the blockage of blood flow to the heart, but it can result from a heart attack.
Many of us think that heart attack and cardiac arrest are the same condition, but this is not true. A heart attack is caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart, whereas a cardiac arrest occurs when the heart ceases to function suddenly. It is important to understand these terms, because it may help you save your own life or someone else’s life when one of these conditions occurs.
A cardiac arrest refers to a sudden electrical malfunction in the heart. The heart experiences irregular rhythm, or arrhythmia, and stops pumping blood to the lungs, brain, and other organs. The affected person can become unconscious and experience a total loss of pulse within seconds. Failure to provide appropriate treatment within minutes will most likely result in death.