Cardiac arrest, also known as cardiopulmonary arrest, is when the heart stops beating. Call 911 immediately if someone nearby goes into cardiac arrest. CPR and, if available, AED (automated external defibrillator) usage, greatly increases the likelihood of survival for sudden cardiac arrest victims.
Bassett Healthcare Network offers life-saving heart care for cardiac arrest and other heart-related emergencies at each of our hospital locations.
Cardiac Arrest Symptoms
The most frequent cause of cardiac arrest is arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. Unlike many heart conditions, cardiac arrest presents obvious, abrupt symptoms: When the heart stops beating, the person quickly become unconscious. There is no pulse, the person won’t respond to sound or touch, and they will stop breathing.
Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, and has different symptoms. Common symptoms that may be noticed before sudden cardiac arrest include:
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Sudden heart palpitations
- Pounding heartbeat, or rapid/inconsistent pulse
- Having a slower than normal pulse (fewer than 60 beats per minute)
- Shortness of breath
Cardiac Arrest Causes
Ventricular fibrillation is a common type of arrhythmia that causes cardiac arrest, and is when the large chambers of the heart (ventricles) lose their normal rhythm and start a “fluttering” kind of beat. Because the ventricles aren’t beating strongly, oxygenated blood can’t reach tissues throughout the body, including the heart and brain. The heart weakens and eventually stops beating.
Ventricular tachycardia, another common cause, occurs when the heart beats too fast to maintain a normal rhythm.
The arrhythmias that cause cardiac arrest can be brought on by:
- Electrical abnormalities
- A history of heart attack or cardiac surgery, causing scarring of the heart muscle
- Cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) caused by heart valve disease, hypertension, or another heart disease
- Side effects of medications prescribed to correct an irregular heartbeat
- Serious dehydration or electrolyte imbalance
- Drug abuse
Call 911 Immediately for Cardiac Arrest Treatment
When someone nearby experiences cardiac arrest, call 911 immediately. CPR and AED usage greatly increases the likelihood of survival. If you’ve recently experienced cardiac arrest or another heart condition and have concerns about your heart health, contact Bassett Healthcare Network at 1-800-BASSETT to schedule an appointment today.
The emergency departments at Bassett Healthcare Network provide life-saving care for cardiac arrest in Cooperstown, Cobleskill, Oneonta, Herkimer, Little Falls, and Delhi, NY.