Cardiac arrest: Many people experience warning signs the day before

By Denise Mann HealthDay Reporter

(Health Day)

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 30, 2023 (HealthDay News) — After all, sudden cardiac arrest may not happen so suddenly.

A new study suggests that 50% of people who have suffered sudden cardiac arrest had had a significant symptom 24 hours earlier, and these symptoms are different in men than women. For women, the most obvious symptom of impending sudden cardiac arrest is shortness of breath; for men, it’s pain and pressure in the chest.

“Yes, warning symptoms are associated with cardiac arrest, and these symptoms are gender-specific,” said study author Dr. Sumeet Chugh. He is the research chair in cardiac electrophysiology and medical director of the Heart Rhythm Center in the department of cardiology at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

Cardiac arrest is thought to happen without warning, which is why the vast majority of people who experience it outside of a hospital die within minutes, but that may not be the case, and identifying any warning signs can give people a chance. to fight, chugh. She said.

Usually caused by abnormal heart rhythms, cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops pumping. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other organs. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the United States, approximately 450,000 Americans die of cardiac arrest each year.

When the researchers looked at data from two community-based studies of people who’d had sudden cardiac arrest and compared their symptoms with those of people who’d sought emergency care but hadn’t had cardiac arrest, they found that 50% of people who had sudden cardiac arrest had sudden cardiac arrest. at least one telltale symptom the day before, namely chest pain in men and shortness of breath in women.

Additionally, smaller groups of men and women experienced palpitations, seizure-like activity, and flu-like symptoms before experiencing cardiac arrest. One study took place in Ventura, California and the other in Portland, Oregon. And both produced similar results.

However, Chugh cautioned that chest pain and shortness of breath can occur for other reasons and don’t necessarily mean a person is on the verge of cardiac arrest. However, when these occur in someone who also has high blood pressure, diabetes, or underlying heart disease, they’re more likely to be associated with cardiac arrest. In the future, apps or smart watches could further narrow down who is most at risk of sudden cardiac arrest, she said.

We need to combine other features with warning symptoms to help people understand if they’re likely experiencing cardiac arrest and need immediate help, Chugh said.

If you experience an unexpected onset of chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911, especially if you have a history of heart disease.

If you witness someone collapse, start CPR right away, he said. If CPR is not started within two to three minutes of cardiac arrest, brain injury can occur. Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are also more readily available in many public places. These analyze the heart rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electric shock to restore an effective rhythm. Immediate use of CPR or AEDs were among the reasons Bronny James, the 18-year-old son of NBA player LeBron James and Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin, survived their cardiac arrests.

Paying attention to any signs of cardiac arrest can help save a person’s life, said Dr. Raman Mitra, director of the electrophysiology laboratory at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York.

We think of sudden cardiac arrest as a person who is perfectly fine and then collapses, but there may be a way to identify these people earlier so we can alert emergency services, said Mitra, who had no ties to the new research. If your chest pain is new and associated with shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting, sweating, or nausea, see a doctor.

SOURCES: Sumeet Chugh, MD, Pauline and Harold Price Chair in Cardiac Electrophysiology Research, medical director, Heart Rhythm Center, department of cardiology, director, division, artificial intelligence in medicine, department, medicine, Smidt Heart Institute, Cedars Sinai, Los Angeles ; Raman Mitra, MD, director, electrophysiology laboratory, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY; The Lancet’s digital healthAugust 26, 2023, online

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