What is a Cardiac Arrest?
A cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart is compromised and classic chest pain (and collapse) can occur. In a cardiac arrest, the output from the heart stops. Often there are no warning signs and consciousness is lost. Unless the output from the heart can be restarted the person will die or suffer life-threatening health damage.
When and Where do Cardiac Arrests Occur?
Cardiac arrests can happen to people of all ages. The causes may change in different age groups, but in the case of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) it is often genetic and up to 12 young people (aged 12 - 35) per week die. A cardiac arrest often happens during, or soon after, physical exercise. Warning signs can include unexpected shortness of breath or dizziness. A family history of 'heart problems' may be known about.
What Needs to be Done?
if you have concerns, speak to your family doctor. Often you will be given reassurance that your concern does not need further tests. Should the doctor have concerns, they may refer you for further investigations. These investigations may include an ECG (Heart trace), ultrasound (echocardiogram) and blood tests.