Cardiac arrest, Causes, Symptoms, Hospital Heart failure treatment, Prevention-2021

In this article, I will discuss the cardiac arrest, causes, symptoms, heart failure treatment, prevention, sudden cardiac death in young people.

In cardiac arrest,

  • A person is unconscious and no longer or not breathing normally. The heart no longer pumps blood. This is a life-threatening situation.
  • The heart often does not really stop. But something is wrong with the heart’s electrical system. The heart chambers vibrate quickly and chaotically. 

As a result, the heart can no longer pump blood. This stops blood circulation. The supply of oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body stops.

Causes for Cardiac arrest.

About half of people in cardiac arrest were unaware that something was wrong with their hearts.

The most common cause of cardiac arrest is myocardial infarction.

A coronary artery of the heart is blocked and part of the heart stops receiving blood and dies. 

The system that ensures a regular heart rhythm can then become disturbed. This can lead to dangerous arrhythmias.

Cardiac arrest can also be caused by other heart problems.

For example due to heart muscle disease, inflammation of the heart, heart failure, or (hereditary) heart rhythm disorders.

Occasionally, cardiac arrest occurs with a healthy heart. This usually concerns an accident, such as drowning, hypothermia, or an electrical accident. 

Symptoms of cardiac arrest:

There is an acute danger to life in case of cardiac arrest. Too little oxygen to the brain in particular quickly causes problems. 

Brain cells are irreparably damaged after just 4 to 6 minutes. After that, other organs are also damaged.

What you see:

In cardiac arrest, you become unconscious within 10 seconds. Someone can then look a bit grey. 

Normal breathing stops. Someone can still gasp for breath. This heavy and noisy breathing is called gasping. It is somewhat reminiscent of a fish out of water. 

Prevent cardiac arrest:

Every day, 35 people die of cardiac arrest outside the hospital. Often completely unexpected. 

Scientific research is needed to detect and treat dangerous arrhythmias earlier. 

This way, cardiac arrest can be prevented in the future.

The Heart Foundation encourages people to  learn how to resuscitate and to register as a citizen counselor,

Sudden cardiac death in young people:

There are regular reports in the media that young people die suddenly, for example during sports. 

It seems to be common, but in reality, it is very rare for people under 45 to experience acute cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrest:

Cardiac arrest

Sudden cardiac death is an unexpected cardiac arrest. The name suggests that the heart then stops completely. But that is usually not the case. 

The chambers of the heart vibrate quickly and chaotically and the heart contracts unevenly and uncontrollably. 

This is called ventricular or ventricular fibrillation.

 As a result, the blood is no longer properly pumped and the blood circulation stops. This is a life-threatening situation.

Cause of  sudden death:

The most common cause of cardiac arrest is myocardial infarction. 

In sudden cardiac death, for example in young people, other causes should be considered.

 Often the cause of cardiac arrest in someone under 45 years old is hereditary heart disease.

Examples of hereditary heart conditions are:

  • A hereditary heart rhythm disorder. 
  • A hereditary heart muscle disease.

This often concerns young people who never had heart complaints before.

Genetic testing:

The sudden death of young people under the age of 45, in particular, should be a signal to family members.

If it turns out that the cause was hereditary heart disease, immediate family members (children, brothers, sisters, and parents) are also at risk of the same heart disease.

A genetic test of family members can then reveal whether someone is hereditary. 

This examination takes place at the cardiogenetic outpatient clinic. This requires a referral from your doctor or specialist.

Heart failure treatment:

In heart failure, you usually receive medicines and advice for a healthy lifestyle. As a result, the heart has to work less hard and the complaints are reduced.

Sometimes the cause can be removed or special treatment is possible.

*Hospital treatment:

When the ambulance arrives, paramedics take over CPR from bystanders. The patient is taken to the hospital as soon as possible.

After blood circulation is restored, treatment continues. The body is cooled in the Intensive Care Unit (IC).

This is done to prevent permanent damage to the heart, brain, and other organs.

First, the doctors slowly lower the body temperature to a temperature between 32 to 36 degrees Celsius. 

The body is kept at that low temperature for the first 24 hours. After 24 hours, the temperature is slowly increased. 

The temperature is returned to normal body temperature. This is approximately 37 degrees Celsius.

In the days that follow, the patient will receive various check-ups. This is, among other things, to assess whether all reflexes are working properly.

*Healthy lifestyle:

By living a healthy life you increase the chance of success of the treatment.

Do not smoke, exercise enough, eat healthily and learn to deal with tension properly.

Pay attention to moisture and salt:

In heart failure, you will receive advice on how much fluid and salt you can take per day.

Stick to this. When you retain water, your heart has to work harder. You want to prevent that in heart failure. 

Other treatments:

Sometimes other treatments are possible. With surgery, it is sometimes possible to remove the cause of heart failure, so that you feel better.

For example, you can get a special pacemaker or ICD to make your heart work better. I

n rare cases, a support heart or heart transplant may be required.

Special ICD or pacemaker for heart failure:

In some people with heart failure, the heart chambers no longer contract at the same time. 

A special pacemaker or ICD allows both heart chambers to contract again at the same time. This treatment is called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT).


Hereditary cardiac arrhythmias are by no means always recognized in time. Through research, we are detecting more and more hereditary heart defects.

For example, people with a predisposition to this can be treated earlier and better and sudden cardiac death can be prevented.

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