Sudden Cardiac Death &
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Cardiac arrest is a sudden loss of heart function that most commonly occurs as a result of ventricular fibrillation, the most severe type of arrhythmia.
Also known as sudden cardiac death (SCD), cardiac arrest accounts for more than 300,000 deaths every year in the U.S.
Our Approach to Treatment for Cardiac Arrest
Ventricular fibrillation is a medical emergency that can cause a person’s heart to suddenly stop beating, so our cardiac specialists are focused on treatments that can help reduce your risk of experiencing ventricular fibrillation altogether.
Our experts have extensive experience assessing your risk of ventricular fibrillation, as well as the treatments that can help prevent cardiac arrest, including medications and implantable devices.
The dedicated specialists in our Cardiovascular Prevention and Wellness Program provide preventive cardiology care and can help you achieve your highest level of cardiovascular health and well-being.
About Cardiac Arrest & Ventricular Fibrillation
What Are the Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest?
In many cases, cardiac arrest occurs suddenly and without symptoms. When symptoms do present, they may include:
- Racing heartbeat
- Feeling dizzy
- Not breathing, or only gasping
- Sudden loss of consciousness or being nonresponsive
- A lack of pulse
What Are the Treatment Options for Cardiac Arrest?
Because cardiac arrest typically occurs so rapidly, it can be hard to prevent and even harder to treat.
If symptoms of cardiac arrest do appear, call 911 immediately. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should be administered right away while waiting for medical assistance, since it’s essential to restore the person’s heartbeat back to a regular rhythm.
What Causes Cardiac Arrest?
The most common cause of cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation, which sends erratic electrical impulses that cause the heart’s ventricles to quiver instead of pump blood. This causes the heart to stop.
If you have an arrhythmia, you can reduce your risk of cardiac arrest by adhering to your medications.
If you have known risk factors of ventricular fibrillation, such as family history or have a diagnosed arrhythmia, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) can be surgically implanted to correct any possibly life-threatening conditions.
What Is the Difference Between Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack?
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart stops due to a block, or a blockage that builds up over time. As a result, the heart does not receive the necessary oxygen-rich blood it needs.
Cardiac arrest, on the other hand, occurs when the electrical current to the heart malfunctions and the heart stops. This irregular heartbeat means the heart is no longer able to send much-needed blood to the brain, lungs and other vital organs.