What Causes Cardiac Arrest
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) causes the victim to be in a very deadly situation. As the name suggests, cardiac arrest is the sudden stopping of heart beat when the heart suddenly halts the process of pumping blood. This makes vital organs of the body, including the brain, deprived of the blood flow and necessary oxygen to function adequately causing permanent damage.
Generally, SCA happens due to ventricular fibrillation which is a type of arrhythmia. During arrhythmia, the victim’s heart undergoes abnormal or irregular rhythm of the heartbeat. Normally, heartbeat is controlled by the internal electrical system, and when the heart muscles stop responding to these electrical signals, the person encounters sudden cardiac arrest.
There are several reasons behind why heart muscles are not being able to respond to the electrical signals generated by the internal electrical system of the heart. These causes of SCA vary in nature and are crucial to understand to prevent one from falling into such a dangerous situation.
Read further to know what the main causes of sudden cardiac arrest are.
Intense pressure or stress on the heart can cause unresponsiveness in cardiac muscles towards heart’s electrical signals. There could be various ways to burden your heart such as through intense physical activity, excessive blood loss, absence of adequate oxygen, or deficiency of potassium and magnesium in the blood.
High intensity exercises usually release high levels of adrenaline which are deadly for patients with heart problems. Also, deficiency of magnesium and potassium can cause SCA as these elements play a vital role in the heart’s electrical signaling. Excessive blood loss through acute hemorrhage or poor oxygen supply can immediately lead to bradycardia and then sudden cardiac arrest.
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)
Coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscles. However, during CHD, these arteries get blocked due to the waxy plaque accumulation inside. This accumulation constricts the arteries, inhibiting adequate blood flow to the heart muscles which in turn leads to arrhythmia and causes SCA.
If the plaque develops into a blood clot and permanently blocks the arteries, it can cause a heart attack. Heart attacks lead to severe muscle cell damage. This causes scar tissues. These scar tissues do not respond to the heart’s electrical signal adequately, increasing the risk of SCA.
Certain inherited disorders can be the major cause of sudden cardiac arrests. If the disorders leading to arrhythmia run in the family, there are higher chances of the occurrence of cardiac arrest in such people. Disorders such as long QT syndrome (LQTS) can easily become the cause of SCA. Also, certain inherited structural modifications in the heart can lead to unresponsiveness towards heart’s electrical signals causing SCA.
Structural Modifications in the Heart
Structural changes are not only inherited, they can develop later on in life as a result of various life-threatening diseases. Hypertension causes heart enlargement which can contribute to SCA. Also, several heart infections can modify the normal size and structure of the heart making it more vulnerable to cardiac arrest.