Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

I was required to write a page about a cardiac disease for my Animal Physiology course at Eastern Kentucky University.

These were the guidelines:

Provide the history of the disease, the prevalence, and what physiological mechanism it alters.
Provide the cause of the disease (genetic, environmental, etc) and the symptoms.
Provide the therapeutic regime/course.  

Name: Asaad Khattab
Topic: Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCD) is defined by the unexpected loss of the heart function, consciousness, and breathing. The first recorded incident of a sudden cardiac arrest took place in 490 B.C. A Pheidippides athlete suddenly fell dead after running a long distance to Athens to deliver a message about their victory over the Persian army. In the United States, cardiac arrest is the largest cause of natural death accounting for 325,000 annual deaths in adults. In athletes, death occurs in about 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 300,000. It occurs more often in older athletes; 1 in 15,000 joggers and 1 in 50,000 marathon runners. SCD is more common in males than in females, and it is very rare in children.

Sudden cardiac arrest is caused by the fast electrical activity of the heart known as ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. The sinus node, which is the electrical stimulator of the heart, malfunctions and suddenly becomes irregular. The heart starts beating rapidly and is unable to pump blood to vital organs. If left untreated, death may occur within minutes. The symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest include a sudden collapse and a loss of conscious. The patient will quit breathing and have no pulse. Other signs include fainting, dizziness, blackouts, fatigues, SOB, vomiting, or chest pain. The main risk factors are coronary artery disease or a previous heart attack. There are also specific causes of SCD. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an inherited autosomal dominant trait, is when the heart muscle becomes very thick, making it harder for the heart to pump blood. Long QT syndrome is an inherited heart disorder that causes fast heartbeats. Coronary artery abnormality is a disorder in which a person is born with coronary arteries connected to a heart chamber or another blood vessel abnormally. Other factors include obesity, family history of premature coronary artery disease, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, or history of syncope.

If a cardiac arrest were to happen, certain steps need to be taken to save the life of a person experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest. Calling 911 is the first step that needs to be taken. CPR should be performed on the patient and should be followed by the use of automated external defibrillator (AED) until the arrival of an ambulance. Afterwards, the patient is taken to the emergency room. Physicians use many techniques and solutions to save the patient’s life. First, they will use several anti-arrhythmic drugs. They may also implant a cardioverter-defibrillator that will detect the rhythm of the heart and shock it to reset the heart to a normal rhythm. In the case of blocked coronary arteries, a coronary angioplasty or a coronary bypass surgery is used to open blocked coronary arteries. A corrective heart surgery is performed if the patient has a diseased heart muscle tissue. Heart transplants are the final solution to be used in the case of a severe cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest can be a life threating disorder. Once it has occurred, death may follow. It is very important to prevent SCD before it occurs. People, particularly athletes, in risk of a sudden cardiac arrest should go through a thorough cardiac examination, especially if they have a family history of sudden cardiac arrest. Eating healthy, exercising, and having regular checkups is vital to prevent cardiac disease.

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