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Causes of cardiac arrest

Cardiac Arrest Overview

Cardiac arrest is a medical condition in which the heart unexpectedly and suddenly stops working. This stop consequently leads to insufficient blood supply to the organs of the body and in case that the heart does not start working again the affected person will die. The major damage of the insufficient blood supply is evident on brain and the very heart tissue. This means that, even if a person has been resuscitated but this procedure has not been performed on time he/ she will suffer from irreversible damage of these organs. Therefore, resuscitation is the only cure for people suffering from cardiac arrest and this procedure has to be performed as soon as possible.

Causes of Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest can be caused by numerous factors. In majority of people this condition is induced by ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation is a type of irregular heart beat. In ventricular fibrillation the contractions of ventricles are not synchronized with contractions of atria and the heart cannot pump the blood properly. Furthermore, some other problems connected to electrical activity of the heart may cause cardiac arrest. 


Cardiac arrest can be a consequence of coronary artery disease. This condition features with improper supply of the heart muscle with blood. Additionally, cardiac arrest can happen due to huge physical stress as this can affect the electrical activity of the heart muscle. Even some inherited conditions can interfere in electrical activity of the heart. And finally, structural changes and abnormalities impede in transfer of electric signals necessary for normal heart function.

Coronary artery disease is a medical condition in which the coronary arteries are narrowed by formation of plaques. Since these blood vessels become narrower the heart muscle cannot be supplied with sufficient amount of oxygen and nutrients. Additionally, blood clots develop and they can plug the blood vessel causing heart attack. One of the potential consequences of heart attack is abnormal spread of electric impulses and arrhythmia which eventually leads to cardiac arrest.

People who are exposed to excessive physical stress can in some cases endanger the electrical system of the heart. In excessive physical activity the level of adrenalin rises and it can be a trigger of cardiac arrest. Sweating can lead to significant loss of potassium and magnesium, two rather important minerals for electrical system of the heart. And finally, the consumption of oxygen is increased in physical activity and its deficiency can also trigger cardiac arrest.

In some people irregular heart beat can be inherited and it runs in the family. This is one more risk factor for cardiac arrest. Even certain structural abnormalities that are inherited can interfere in normal heart pumping and result in cardiac arrest.

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