Causes Of Cardiac Arrest
The causes of cardiac arrest are varied but it is most often an arrhythmia, a sudden abnormal heartbeat, that causes the heart to suddenly speed up, slow down or become very irregular. The arrhythmia can be caused by a number of different factors both related to the health of the body's cardiovascular system and other environmental factors.
- Coronary artery disease. Eighty percent of cases of cardiac arrest are linked to the underlying heart condition of coronary artery disease. Cholesterol in the arteries can block the blood flow to the heart. Clogged arteries can affect the heart’s ability to function and control electrical impulses.
- A heart attack. People who have recently survived a heart attack and sustained significant damage to the heart are more likely to suffer cardiac arrest. Scar tissue can cause electrical short circuits leading to an arrhythmia. For this reason, the risk of cardiac arrest is significantly higher in the six months immediately following the heart attack.
- An electrical shock. Not all causes of cardiac arrest are related to heart health. Being struck by lightning or shocked by an electronic device can result in an arrhythmia that causes cardiac arrest.
- Drug use. Recreational drug use is one of the most talked about causes of cardiac arrest. It can happen to regular abusers and first time users alike. Cocaine or amphetamines are frequently the culprit.
- Trauma to the chest. Physical trauma can be a cause of cardiac arrest. The trauma is typically in the chest region and the outcome is reliant on the exact moment in the heart's electrical cycle that the trauma occurred.
- Hypothermia. An extremely low core body temperature can cause damage to the heart and result in cardiac arrest.