What is cardiac arrest?
Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops pumping. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.
Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating or beats irregularly and ineffectively. During cardiac arrest, blood flow to the brain and other vital organs is severely reduced or completely halted, which can lead to organ damage or death if not treated immediately.
Contrary to a heart attack, which is caused by a blockage in the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle, cardiac arrest is often the result of an electrical disturbance in the heart that disrupts its normal rhythm.
This disturbance may cause the heart to quiver (ventricular fibrillation) or beat too rapidly (ventricular tachycardia), preventing it from effectively pumping blood.
Cardiac arrest is a common cause of death.
Cardiac arrest causes about 300,000 to 450,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Cardiac arrest causes about half of the deaths linked with heart attack and stroke.
Nine out of 10 people who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital die — often within minutes.
Common causes of cardiac arrest include underlying heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, or heart failure, as well as other factors like electrolyte imbalances, drug overdoses, or severe trauma.
Immediate intervention is crucial to survival during cardiac arrest. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) can help restore a normal heart rhythm and improve the chances of survival. It is essential to seek emergency medical attention promptly if someone is suspected of experiencing cardiac arrest.