Sudden Cardiac Arrest(SCA) is a sudden and unexpected life-threatening emergency that results from an electrical disturbance in the heart. In such cases heart stops the pumping action, stopping the blood flow to rest of the body.
The rhythm of the heartbeat is controlled by an internal electrical system in the heart. There are problems that can cause abnormal heart rhythms, called as Arrhythmias.
Heart Arrhythmias is a condition where the heart may beat too fast, too slow or it can stop beating.
Now Sudden Cardiac Arrest(SCA) happens when the heart develops an arrhythmia condition which results in sudden stop of the heart beat. This condition is different from Heart Attack where there is a blockage of the coronary arteries. It is often caused by blood clot, but the heart normally continues to beat even though the blood supply to the heart is disrupted.
What causes SCA?
Sudden Cardiac Arrest have several potential causes:
- The most common cause of cardiac arrest is a condition of arrhythmia called Ventricular Fibrillation – an abnormal heart rhythm where the lower chamber of the heart(ventricles) beat irregularly i.e when rapid, electrical impulses causes the heart to quiver instead of pumping blood.
- Other Medical causes such as – Coronary heart diseases, choking, hypothermia, electrocution.
- External Causes such as – Drowning, trauma, asphyxia, drugs overdose, dramatic drop in blood pressure.
Heart conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest?
The heart has its own Electrical Stimulation unlike other muscles in the body, which rely on nerve connections to receive the electrical stimulation to function called sinus node. The sinus node generates electrical impulses and also coordinate the pumping of blood from heart to rest of the body.
A person with pre-existing heart conditions such as :
Coronary artery disease : Most cases of SCA happens to the people who have coronary artery disease. CAD is a disease in which the blood supplying artery get clogged with cholesterol and other waxy deposits, limiting the blood supply to the heart.
Risk Factors for CAD can be:
- High LDL Cholesterol
- Low HDL Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Family History
- After a age of 45
- Obesity or overweight
Cardiomyopathy : Often known as enlarged heart. This is a disease which affects the heart muscles making it hard to pump blood to rest of the body. This disease results in making the heart muscle abnormal which leads to damage of heart tissue.
Congenital Heart Disease : Now a days even small kids are also getting CAD problem. Congenital Heart Disease is a defect from the birth in the structure of the heart. The problem can affect the – the heart walls, the heart valves or the blood vessels.
Heart Attack : The heart is a muscle, and like all muscles it requires an oxygen – rich blood supply. This is provided to the heart by coronary arteries. Heart Attack occurs if there is a blood clot in these arteries which results in blockage resulting to heart attack.
Prevention : Diagnosis and Test
There is no 1 way to know the risk of SCA, so reducing the risk is the best strategy : No single test can diagnose Heart disease but getting a regular checkup done can help you to live longer and healthier.
Tests that one should do if he/she feels that they are having the symptoms and complications:
ECG : is a routine test that is used to check the electrical activity of the heartbeat. This test shows how fast is the heart beating and its rhythm( regular or irregular).
Blood Test : A blood test is required which will check the level of fat, cholesterol, sugar and protein in the body. The things should always be normal. Abnormal levels may be the cause and might increase the risk for SCA.
Stress Test : Tension and Stress affects a lot to a body.
A stress test can come up with possible signs of heart related problems, such as:
- Abnormal changes in the heart rhythm
- Abnormal changes in the blood pressure
- Chest Pain
Stay physically active by exercising daily
Eat a Nutritious and balanced diet
Don’t smoke and use alcohol ( more than one to two times a day )