|Electrical System of the Heart|
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- A rapid, irregular heart rhythm preventing any circulation of blood (most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest)—ventricular fibrillation
- A rapid, but regular heart rhythm that, if sustained, may turn into ventricular fibrillation—ventricular tachycardia
- Dramatic slowing of heart rate due to failure of its pacemaker or severe heart block (interference with electrical conduction)
- Respiratory arrest
- Choking or drowning
- Sudden loss of blood pressure
- Complications from eating disorders
- Unknown causes
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
- Enlarged heart
- Congenital heart disease
- Heart valves that do not function properly
- Conditions affecting the heart's electrical system
- Severe metabolic imbalances
- Adverse drug effects, such as from drugs to treat abnormal heart rhythms
- Lung conditions
- Trauma to the chest
- Extensive blood loss
- Having an eating disorder
- Excessive overexertion in people with heart disorders
- Illicit drugs, such as cocaine use
- Loss of consciousness
- No breathing
- No pulse
- Having chest pain
- Feeling weak
- Having a pounding sensation in the chest
- Feeling faint
Call for Emergency Medical Services
Advanced Medical Care
- Learning the warning signs of heart disease and getting help right away if you develop any
- Talking to your doctor about ways to become healthier if you are already diagnosed with a heart condition—For example, your doctor may recommend that you take medication to prevent arrhythmias.
- Asking your doctor if you should have an AED in your home if you are at high risk of having cardiac arrest
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association http://www.suddencardiacarrest.org
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca
About cardiac arrest. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/CardiacArrest/About-Cardiac-Arrest%5FUCM%5F307905%5FArticle.jsp. Updated August 6, 2014. Accessed September 9, 2014.
Cardiac arrest. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 16, 2014. Accessed September 9, 2014.
Sudden cardiac arrest. Heart Rhythm Society website. Available at: http://www.hrsonline.org/Patient-Resources/Heart-Diseases-Disorders/Sudden-Cardiac-Arrest-SCA#axzz2IzsoUyQ9. Accessed September 9, 2014.
What causes sudden cardiac arrest? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/scda. Updated August 1, 2011. Accessed September 9, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 08/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/09/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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