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Causes of Cardiac Arrest

Delve into the critical topic of cardiac arrest as we explore its underlying causes, risk factors, and life-saving measures in this informative article.

  • 11 Oct 2023
  • 4 min read

Are you familiar with the term 'cardiac arrest'? Well, don't worry if you aren’t, as it affects only a tiny percentage of people each year and is certainly not something to be taken lightly. A cardiac arrest is a medical condition in which your heart suddenly stops beating effectively. The good news is that most cases are entirely preventable; however, there are many causes that could potentially lead to this type of health issue. In this article, we will be discussing these potential causes of cardiac arrest in great detail so that we may become a bit more informed on what exactly can cause our hearts to fail us and how we have the power to do something about it!


How is Cardiac Arrest Caused?

To understand the causes of cardiac arrest, it is important to know more about the heart's signaling system. This includes:

  • Arrhythmias

The heart generates the electric signals that control the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. If the electrical signals are faulty or in excess, it can cause the heart to beat too rapidly, too slow or in an uncoordinated manner leading to changes in the heartbeat, also called arrhythmias. Some arrhythmias are not life-threatening, while others can lead to sudden cardiac arrest if the heart cannot pump blood around the body. Arrhythmias are one of the most common causes of cardiac arrest in young adults.

  • Ventricular fibrillation

One of the most common reasons for cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation, in which rapid and irregular heart signals cause the lower heart chambers to quiver or fibrillate instead of pumping blood. Such heart conditions are more likely to have this type of heartbeat problem in case of cardiac arrest if they're severe or left untreated.

Other heart conditions that can result in sudden cardiac arrest include:

  • Cardiomyopathy

This condition defines the inherited heart conditions which affect the electrical system of the heart, leading to a condition called Brugada syndrome, in which the walls in the heart muscle stretch and the heart muscle gets bigger or thicker.

  • Congenital heart disease

This is a heart condition or defect that is present since birth, in which the children or adolescents have problems often due to a heart defect that they're born with. Adults who have undergone surgery to repair the congenital heart defect also have an elevated risk of sudden cardiac arrest with age.

  • Heart valve disease

This is a condition where one or more of the heart valves don’t work properly due to leakage or narrowing of the heart valves, leading to stretching or thickening of the heart muscle and the chambers become enlarged or weak. This results in valve leakage, thus increasing the risk of developing a heart rhythm problem.

  • Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease is a condition where cholesterol and other deposits build-up in the arteries, blocking blood flow to your heart, which can utlimately cause cardiac arrest.

  • Heart attack

A heart attack, often due to conditions like coronary artery disease, can trigger ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest. This can result in scar tissue in the heart and cause changes in the heartbeat.

  • Long QT syndrome (LQTS)

Long QT syndrome and Brugada syndrome are conditions that have been reported to cause sudden cardiac arrest. These conditions cause the heart to beat in an unorganized manner, and the heart rhythm isn't quickly restored.


Other sudden cardiac arrest causes include:

  • Hemorrhagic condition, in which there is a large amount of blood loss
  • Hypoxia- a condition in which there is a severe drop in oxygen levels
  • In the case of electrocution
  • In case of a drug overdose

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Some risk factors have also been reported that increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest. These include:

  • A family history of coronary artery disease or previous episodes of sudden cardiac arrest
  • A previous heart attack
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • An inactive lifestyle
  • The risk of sudden cardiac arrest increases as we grow older
  • Being male
  • Use of drugs like cocaine or amphetamines can also increase the risk for cardiac arrest
  • Low potassium or magnesium levels
  • A sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea
  • Chronic kidney disease



As we are aware, recovery from cardiac arrest takes time and includes various therapies to help maximize a person’s abilities to get back to routine life. So, the heart patient needs to take proper ongoing heart care treatment to prevent them from another episode of sudden cardiac arrest. Understanding the causes of cardiac arrest is the first step in helping with the prevention of this condition. Also, ensure that you have a health insurance plan in place to safeguard yourself against any financial stress.


Disclaimer: The above blog aims to provide general information about health and related topics. Any information provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials is not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is important that you contact your Doctor before starting a new medicine or health regime.

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