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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest

A cardiac arrest is also called as cardiopulmonary arrest or circulatory arrest. It is the sudden stoppage of circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively during systole


Cardiac arrest is different from the heart attack or myocardial infarction, where the blood flow to the heart is decreased.

In cardiac arrest the blood circulation prevents the delivery of oxygen to all the parts of the body. It causes less blood supply and oxygen to the brain leading to unconsciousness and also leads to stoppage of breathing as well. It is a medical emergency. In the person dies due to cardiac arrest it is called sudden cardiac death.


  • Cardiac diseases like coronary artery disease
  • Circulatory shock
  • Non cardiac diseases like pulmonary embolism, GI hemorrhage, trauma, ventilator failure.
  • Metabolic disturbances like drug over dosage
  • Trauma
  • Poisoning
  • Respiratory disorders like airway obstruction, smoke inhalation
  • Drowning

 Risk factors of cardiac arrest

 Signs and symptoms

  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Apnea
  • Decrease in mental alertness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Absence of pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Collapse

 Tests and diagnosis

  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Holter monitoring
  • Electrophysiological studies


  • Medications like ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and antiarrhyhmics to treat the condition.
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Catheter ablation

 Prevention of cardiac arrest

  • By living a heart healthy life by exercising regularly, eating healthy foods.
  • Maintenance of weight
  • Treating and monitoring disease and conditions which causes heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
  • Treating abnormal heart rhythms