Cardiac arrest - Symptoms, Causes, and treatment of Cardiac arrest


Description of Cardiac arrest

The failure and stopping of the pumping action of the heart.

Persons most commonly affected by Cardiac arrest - adults of all age groups and both sexes but particularly middle-aged and elderly persons. Less common in premenopausal women than in men but same incidence in women after menopause as in men.

Organ or part of body involved in Cardiac arrest - heart

Symptoms and indications of Cardiac arrest

Loss of consciousness, breathing and pulse stops, skin is pale and tinged with blue, pupils become dilated. Cardiac arrest or heart attack is a medical emergency and a person requires immediate aid.

Treatment of Cardiac arrest

Involves attempting to restart the heart by external cardiac massage (direct depressions of the breastbone) along with artificial respiration (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation). In hospital, defibrillation (electric shock) and direct cardiac massage (the chest wall is opened to allow massage of the heart) may be attempted as a last resort.

Causes and risk factors of Cardiac arrest

Causes include various forms of heart disease e.g. coronary thrombosis, heartbeat irregularities, serious electrolyte (salts)/fluid imbalance and shock due to severe injury and haemorrhage. Also, electrocution, anaphylactic shock, lack of oxygen and respiratory arrest.

Stress is believed to be a contributory factor, especially in people with existing heart disease or who are otherwise susceptible.


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