Sudden cardiac arrest is a quickly occurring, life-threatening emergency that can affect anyone—from seemingly healthy teen athletes to seniors. During cardiac arrest, the heart’s electrical system malfunctions, causing a dangerously fast or irregular heart rhythm. If the heart stops and fails to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body, it can be fatal. Here’s what you need to know about this condition to help you and the people around you respond during an emergency situation.
A number of underlying heart conditions, medications, and drugs can cause cardiac arrest, including:
Understanding the causes of cardiac arrest can help you quickly identify an emergency if the warning signs are present.
Sudden cardiac arrest is just that, sudden. Because of this, you must know what the symptoms are and how to recognize them. Signs include:
In the event a person exhibits these symptoms, you must act quickly.
If you suspect someone is in cardiac arrest, follow these steps:
Sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of 475,000 Americans every year. The more you know about the condition, the more prepared you will be to handle an emergency. Talk with your family about cardiac arrest warning signs, plan ahead, and locate your closest St. Luke’s Health emergency center.
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