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Sudden Cardiac Arrest Treatment

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Sudden Cardiac Arrest -  
A Comprehensive Insight

Sudden cardiac arrest represents an unanticipated halt of heart function, respiration, and consciousness. Often, this condition is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that interrupts the heart's natural rhythmic pumping, halting the flow of blood to the body's vital organs.

Left untreated, sudden cardiac arrest may rapidly lead to fatal consequences. However, survival is possible with the immediate delivery of an appropriate medical intervention. Performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), employing a defibrillator, or even administering chest compressions can significantly enhance survival rates until the arrival of emergency medical services.

Don't leave such a critical situation to chance. Entrust your cardiac health to Dr. Karthigesan, a seasoned professional committed to saving lives and promoting heart health. With his wealth of experience and cutting-edge knowledge in sudden cardiac arrest treatment and prevention, your heart is truly in safe hands.

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  • Collapsing suddenly
  • No breathing
  • No pulse
  • Losing consciousness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort
  • Weakness
  • Fast-beating, pounding or fluttering heart (palpitations)
  • Sudden cardiac arrest can happen without any warnings as well.
  • Reduced blood flow to the brain
  • Brain damage and death
  • Coronary artery disease, characterised by cholesterol-clogged arteries hampering blood flow to the heart.
  • Heart attacks, often triggered by severe coronary artery disease, leading to ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Previous heart attack, with scar tissue inducing electrical abnormalities in heart rhythm (75% of SCD cases).
  • An enlarged heart condition, also known as cardiomyopathy.
  • Decreased heart pumping function (ejection fraction) and heart failure.
  • Family history of sudden cardiac arrest or SCD.
  • Valvular heart disease.
  • Congenital heart defects.
  • Electrical issues in the heart, such as WPW Syndrome.
  • Familial/Genetic Arrhythmia Syndrome, involving a family history of specific abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Prior episode of sudden cardiac arrest.
  • A family history of coronary artery disease
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure/ cholesterol
  • Obesity or diabetes
A man holding his chest because of sudden cardiac arrest.

Types of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Treatment Options

The approach to treatment is contingent upon the underlying causes. Various methods are employed to manage sudden cardiac arrest and include:

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Immediate Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is crucial in treating sudden cardiac arrest to prevent fatal outcomes.


Defibrillation, a process to reset the heart rhythm, can be administered using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if readily accessible. These devices are strategically placed in numerous public locations.

Pharmacological Interventions

Pharmacological interventions are used to manage irregular heartbeats and associated symptoms as a part of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) in order to revive a person who has collapsed due to sudden cardiac arrest. Subsequently, the person may also be prescribed cardiac medications to address the cause of the sudden cardiac arrest and reduce the associated risks.


After reviving a person from sudden cardiac arrest, the person will have to be subjected to a series of investigations to ascertain the reason for the sudden cardiac arrest. This may include ECG, Coronary Angiogram, Echocardiogram, Holter monitoring, Genetic testing, etc.


Depending on the specific cause of sudden cardiac arrest, Dr. Karthigesan may recommend various invasive procedures such as Coronary Angioplasty, Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery, or Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation.


Once you are revived from sudden cardiac arrest/ if you belong to the high-risk category, Dr Karthigesan may recommend you to undergo AICD implantation for the prevention of sudden cardiac arrests in the future.
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With Sudden Cardiac Arrest

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Sudden Cardiac Arrest - Your Questions, Our Answers

While both SCA and heart attacks involve the heart, they represent distinct conditions. A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, results from a blockage in one or more coronary arteries, inhibiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and causing potential damage.

Conversely, SCA is a consequence of a malfunction in the heart's electrical system, leading to an abrupt, severe irregularity in heart rhythm. This irregularity may cause the ventricles to flutter or quiver, referred to as ventricular fibrillation, impairing blood delivery to the body. The primary concern in the initial minutes is a significant reduction in blood flow to the brain, leading to loss of consciousness. Without immediate emergency treatment, this can result in death.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is strongly advised to consult a healthcare professional promptly:

  • Persistent chest pain or discomfort
  • Heart palpitations
  • Unusual rapidity or irregularity in heartbeats
  • Unexplained bouts of wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Episodes of fainting or near fainting
  • Persistent lightheadedness or dizziness
While rare, sudden deaths in individuals under 35 often result from undiagnosed heart defects or genetic abnormalities. These tragic incidents tend to occur during physical activities, such as sports and are more frequently reported in males than females.

Certain medical conditions can cause sudden cardiac death in the young, including:

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) - An often inherited condition, HCM results in thickening of the heart muscle walls, disrupting the heart's electrical system, leading to rapid or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), and potentially causing sudden cardiac death.

Coronary artery abnormalities - Some individuals are born with abnormally connected coronary arteries. These can get compressed during exercise, impeding the heart's proper blood supply.

Genetic Arrhythmic Syndrome - These inherited heart rhythm disorders can trigger rapid, chaotic heartbeats, often causing fainting. Young individuals with Long QT syndrome are at a heightened risk of sudden death.

While sudden cardiac death often occurs without warning, some signs to be aware of include:

Unexplained fainting (syncope) - If this happens during physical activity, it might indicate a heart problem.

Family history of sudden cardiac death - A family history of unexplained deaths before age 50 serves as another significant warning sign. If such history exists in your family, consider discussing screening options with an electrophysiologist.

Shortness of breath or chest pain - These symptoms might signal a risk of sudden cardiac death.

Implantation of an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) is one key preventive measure. The ICD continuously monitors your heart rhythm. If it identifies a dangerous rhythm, it delivers low- or high-energy shocks to restore a normal rhythm. When a rhythm too slow is detected, it performs the function of a pacemaker to pace your heart.
Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can significantly decrease your risk of experiencing an SCA. For individuals diagnosed with coronary artery disease or other heart conditions, managing these diseases can further mitigate the risk of SCA. If you have already suffered from an SCA, having an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) can significantly lower the likelihood of a recurrence.
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