Friday, June 26, 2009

Cardiac Arrest Requires Immediate Response

After the death of Michael Jackson, there are a lot of questions about cardiac arrest.

The American Heart Association, headed by Sinai Hospital President Neil Meltzer as of July 1, recommends knowing the warning signs of cardiac arrest, such as a loss of consciousness, cessation of normal breathing and loss of pulse and blood pressure. A common underlying reason for patients to die suddenly from cardiac arrest is coronary heart disease. Brain death and permanent death start to occur in just 4 to 6 minutes.

While it's not known what caused Jackson's cardiac arrest, Sinai Hospital cardiologist Ali Tabrizchi, MD, FACC, FSCAI, says there are several factors that can put a person at high risk. These are coronary and structural heart disease, metabolic abnormalities, arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies. Non-cardiac causes include infections, drug overdoses, trauma, or cancer.

People often confuse a heart attack with cardiac arrest. Dr. Tabrizchi explains that a cardiac arrest is the abrupt cessation of normal circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively, whereas, a heart attack occurs when blood flow to a beating heart is interrupted. For example, a heart attack can occur when a buildup of plaque blocks one of your coronary arteries.

A year ago, another prominent celebrity, Tim Russert, died after suffering cardiac arrest. However, Russert had symptomatic coronary artery disease, while the details of Jackson's health are not yet known.

No comments: