Aug 7, 2023

Mayo Clinic Q and A: What is cardiac arrest?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I’ve heard about several people who have experienced sudden cardiac arrest. What is cardiac arrest? And how is it different from a heart attack? What do you do for someone who has this condition?

ANSWER: Cardiac arrest, or sudden cardiac arrest as it is more formally known, is a medical emergency. Think of it as a problem with the heart’s electrical activity. This synchronized electrical activity allows the heart to fill and pump blood normally. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen unexpectedly and quickly, and the heart stops working. It’s not the same as a heart attack, but it is just as critical that treatment occurs rapidly.

Cardiac arrest is when the heart cannot fulfill its duties, such as pumping oxygenated blood around the body to reach critical areas such as the brain and the rest of the body. It is sometimes called “sudden” because it seems to happen without warning. A person suddenly loses all heart activity, stops breathing and becomes unconscious. Without immediate treatment, sudden cardiac arrest can lead to death.

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