Sudden cardiac arrest
Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Definition, Epidemiology, 7 Symptoms, Complications, and Treatment

Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Definition, Epidemiology, Symptoms, Complications, and Treatment – What is cardiac arrest? People often mix between heart attack (acute coronary syndrome) and cardiac arrest. But the two are different. Heart attacks occur when blood flow to the heart muscle stops, while sudden cardiac death is a condition where death is caused by the heart with sudden loss of consciousness within an hour after the onset of acute changes in cardiovascular status.

Disruption of the respiratory system and heart function can be fatal if not treated immediately. In fact, only about 10 percent of patients who experience cardiac arrest outside the hospital can survive. This at the same time emphasizes the importance of early detection as well as emergency response to the safety of individuals affected by cardiac arrest.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Definition

Sudden cardiac arrest is a sudden cessation of heart function, breathing, and consciousness. This condition usually occurs due to electrical current disturbances in the heart, which interfere with the rhythm and heartbeat.

Sudden cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack due to a blockage of blood vessels. But a heart attack can trigger this condition.

Sudden cardiac arrest is an emergency condition that needs immediate treatment. If treated too late, the sufferer can experience serious complications in the form of permanent brain damage due to no blood supply, until death. Basic life support knowledge and skills (including CPR) are essential to save people from sudden cardiac arrest complications.

Sudden cardiac arrest epidemiology

Epidemiology of sudden cardiac arrest is in line with the prevalence of coronary heart disease or other cardiovascular disease.


Data from the WHO shows that in 2016, cardiovascular disease caused 17.9 million deaths annually, representing 31% of total deaths in 1 year world wide. Sudden cardiac arrest accounts for 7 million deaths a year worldwide.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Symptoms

A person experiencing sudden cardiac arrest will lose consciousness and stop breathing. Although not always, a few days to several weeks before a sudden cardiac arrest, symptoms may appear in the form of:

  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling tired quickly
  • Chest pain
  • Heart pounding
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Get tired quickly

Sometimes these symptoms even appear from a few days/weeks before, but are often ignored. Therefore, it is recommended that you immediately check with your doctor if you experience any of these signs and symptoms for further treatment.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Complications

Complications related to pulmonary heart resuscitation include defibrillation failure, failure to gain IV/IO access, rib fractures, pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum, subcutaneous emphysema, hemothorax, pulmonary laceration, pulmonary bleeding, injury to major arteries, cardiac tamponade, a recurrent cardiac arrest occurs.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Treatment

In a sudden cardiac arrest condition, a team of doctors and nurses will make emergency efforts to restore heart rate with the help of cardiac shock devices, chest wall presses, and drug injections. If successful, you will need to be treated in intensive care until the condition is stable.

After a stable condition, to prevent a recurrence of sudden cardiac arrest with the following series of treatments:

  • Drugs. For example, antiarrhythmic drugs to overcome heart rhythm disorders.
  • Implanted a cardiac shock device (ICD) inside the left chest to detect heart rhythm. This tool can provide electric shock when needed.
  • Installation of heart rings (coronary angioplasty) to keep blood vessels open.
  • Ablation of the heart to inhibit the electrical current pathways in the heart that trigger arrhythmias.
  • Heart bypass surgery. Through this procedure the doctor will install new blood vessels in the heart as an alternative way of clogged blood vessels.
  • Heart repair surgery to correct congenital heart abnormalities and/or replace damaged heart valves.

In addition to these medical measures, usually the doctor will advise people with sudden cardiac arrest to change their diet while exercising regularly according to their condition and ability.

Last Updated on December 9, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team

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