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Cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest: Introduction

Cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart has stopped beating or is not beating efficiently enough to sustain life. Cardiac arrest, also called sudden cardiac arrest, is rapidly fatal within minutes if not immediately treated with CPR, defibrillation, and advanced life support measures.

Cardiac arrest is most often due to certain serious cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). A cardiac arrhythmia can result when the electrical conduction system of the heart is damaged or stimulated abnormally due to certain diseases and disorders, such as heart attack. Cardiac arrhythmias that can quickly cause cardiac arrest include ventricular tachycardia, in which the ventricles of the heart are beating extremely fast and ineffectively. Ventricular tachycardia may or may not produce a pulse. Cardiac arrest may also be the result of ventricular fibrillation, an ineffective, disorganized attempt of the ventricles to beat. Ventricular fibrillation does not produce a pulse. Cardiac arrest may also be the result of an extreme slowing of the heartbeat (bradycardia), obstruction of electrical impulses in the heart (heart block), or cardiac asystole (a stoppage of any activity in the heart).

Cardiac arrest can also be caused by drowning, electrocution, respiratory arrest, choking, trauma, or by certain conditions that cause electrical abnormalities in the heart, such as long QT syndrome and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

Rarely, cardiac arrest can occur without any underlying cause. Cardiac arrest can happen in any age group or population, but people most at risk include those who have a history of coronary artery disease and/or a history of a previous heart attack. Other risk factors include cardiovascular disease, congenital heart defects, electrolyte imbalance, smoking, diabetes, obesity, and recreational drug use, such as cocaine and methamphetamine.

Symptoms of cardiac arrest include loss of consciousness and loss of pulses. Death can occur within minutes if CPR and defibrillation are not initiated immediately and advanced life support measures are not started rapidly thereafter. For more details about symptoms, complications, and treatment, see symptoms of cardiac arrest and treatment of cardiac arrest.

Diagnosing cardiac arrest begins with recognizing that a person has lost consciousness and does not have a pulse. In the medical setting, cardiac arrest can be seen with cardiac monitoring or on an EKG, which creates a picture of the heart's electrical activity and rhythm. However, treatment for cardiac arrest is begun immediately without waiting to obtain test results.

After initial treatment has begun, diagnosing the underlying cause of cardiac arrest involves taking a personal and family medical history, including symptoms that occurred prior to the cardiac arrest, and completing a physical examination. Diagnostic testing includes an EKG and other tests, such as a chest X-ray, echocardiogram and blood cardiac assay tests, which can help identify damage to the heart and underlying causes of cardiac arrest.

A diagnosis of cardiac arrest and its underlying cause may be delayed or missed because a person might be alone when it occurs and is unable to call for help. In addition, symptoms of cardiac arrest can be similar to symptoms of other disorders and conditions. For information about misdiagnosis and other disorders and conditions that can mimic a cardiac arrest, refer to misdiagnosis of cardiac arrest....more »

Cardiac arrest: Misdiagnosis

Making a diagnosis and treating cardiac arrest can be delayed or missed because in some cases the person is alone when it occurs and cannot call for help because of an immediate loss of consciousness. In addition, when a person loses consciousness, it may be initially be mistaken by bystanders as fainting or a seizure.

In some cases, there may be ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Cardiac arrest:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Cardiac arrest. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Cardiac arrest: Causes | Symptom Checker »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Cardiac arrest

Home medical tests possibly related to Cardiac arrest:

Causes of Types of Cardiac arrest:

Review causes of types of Cardiac arrest in more specific categories:

Cardiac arrest: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Cardiac arrest, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

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Cardiac arrest Treatments

The first step in treatment of cardiac arrest is prevention and treatment of risk factors and potential underlying diseases and conditions. These include coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension, and recreational drug use. Prevention includes regular exercise, achieving and maintaining a ...Cardiac arrest Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Cardiac arrest may include:

Review further information on Cardiac arrest Treatments.

Stories from Users for Cardiac arrest

Real-life user stories relating to Cardiac arrest:

Cardiac arrest: Animations

Medications or substances causing Cardiac arrest:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Cardiac arrest as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Drug interactions causing Cardiac arrest:

When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Cardiac arrest as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

  • Accupril (Quinapril) and Kaon-CL interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and K-Dur interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and Klorvess interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and K-Lyte interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and K-Tab interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and Slow-K interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and Kay Ciel interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and Klor-Con interaction
  • more interactions...»

Cardiac arrest: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Cardiac arrest may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

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Causes of Similar Symptoms to Cardiac arrest

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Cardiac arrest:

Cardiac arrest: Deaths

Read more about causes and Cardiac arrest deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Cardiac arrest

Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. It is altogether too common for people to die from undiagnosed more »

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, more »

Rare heart condition often undiagnosed: The rare heart condition called long QT syndrome can lead to episodes of palpitations and rapid heartbeat. more »

Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed, leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed. People become concerned that a condition is a heart attack, whereas there are various less dangerous possibilities. After all, more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure can simply be more »

Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its misdiagnosis is even more likely in children. Some of the more »

Cardiac arrest: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Cardiac arrest

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Cardiac arrest:

Cardiac arrest: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Cardiac arrest: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Cardiac arrest listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Cardiac arrest as a symptom include:

Definitions of Cardiac arrest:

Cessation of the heart beat.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Absence of systole; failure of the ventricles of the heart to contract (usually caused by ventricular fibrillation) with consequent absence of the heart beat leading to oxygen lack and eventually to death
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Organs affected by Cardiac arrest:

The list of organs typically affected by Cardiac arrest may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Cardiac arrest

The list below shows some of the causes of Cardiac arrest mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Cardiac arrest?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Cardiac arrest. Of the 93 causes of Cardiac arrest that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 3 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 5 causes are "common" diseases
  • 4 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 0 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 0 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 89 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Cardiac arrest:

The following list of conditions have 'Cardiac arrest' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Cardiac arrest or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Cardiac arrest:

The following list of medical conditions have Cardiac arrest or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.










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Causes of Cardiac arrest Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Cardiac arrest based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Cardiac arrest?

    Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Cardiac arrest, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

    Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

    Classifications of Cardiac arrest:

    Medical Conditions associated with Cardiac arrest:

    Heart symptoms (2927 causes), Cardiovascular symptoms (3192 causes)

    Symptoms related to Cardiac arrest:

    Heart attack (138 causes), Chest pain (1053 causes), Angina (41 causes), Breathing difficulty (2922 causes), Myocardial infacrtion, Arrhythmias (172 causes), Cardiomyopathies, Infections (1293 causes), Trauma, Cancer, Choking leading to hypoxia, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Cardiac arrest

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Cardiac arrest and many other medical conditions:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Cardiac arrest

    Medical research papers related to Cardiac arrest include:

    Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Cardiac arrest:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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