Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death, accounting for up to 80% of all cases. Cardiomyopathies and genetic channelopathies account for the remaining causes.
Coronary artery disease.
Most cases of sudden cardiac arrest occur in people who have coronary artery disease, in which the arteries become clogged with cholesterol and other deposits, reducing blood flow to the heart.
The most common warning signs were chest pain, breathlessness, palpitations, lightheadedness or fainting, nausea, and vomiting.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating. When that happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. If it is not treated, SCA usually causes death within minutes. But quick treatment with a defibrillator may be lifesaving.
Sudden cardiac arrest occurs suddenly and often without warning. It happens when an electrical malfunction in the heart causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). With its pumping action disrupted, the heart can't pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest by the Numbers
Only about 10% of people survive. The odds of surviving are much higher if someone witnesses the event, calls 911 at once, starts CPR and uses a device to shock and restart the heart.
Some heart attacks strike suddenly. But many people have warning signs and symptoms hours, days or weeks in advance. Chest pain or pressure (angina) that keeps happening and doesn't go away with rest may be an early warning sign.
Sudden death (SD) is often the first clinical manifestation of an underlying disease in previously asymptomatic, apparently “healthy” subjects. In this setting, autopsy represents the first, and only, opportunity to establish and register an accurate cause of death.
A sudden death is an unanticipated death
While sudden deaths have very different causes, what unites them all is that they are unexpected and consequently unanticipated. The people bereaved by these deaths have no time to prepare for their loss, or say goodbye.
Sudden cardiac death in seemingly healthy people under age 35 is rare. It's more common in males than in females. When sudden death occurs in adolescents and young adults, it's sometimes due to undiagnosed heart conditions such as a genetic heart disease.
Is sudden cardiac death painful? Some people have chest pain during the initial seconds of sudden cardiac arrest. However, once you lose consciousness, you don't feel pain.
CPR and use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) within two to three minutes of the event can prevent an interruption in blood flow to the brain.
A silent heart attack is a heart attack that has few, if any, symptoms or has symptoms not recognized as a heart attack. A silent heart attack might not cause chest pain or shortness of breath, which are typically associated with a heart attack.
Seemingly healthy people are “suddenly” having heart attacks because, as it turns out, their arteries are not perfectly healthy and they don't know it. With the proper noninvasive tests, these diseased arteries would have been identified, and the heart attacks wouldn't have happened.
Those with an anxiety disorder have most likely experienced a panic or anxiety attack at some point in their lives. The symptoms can closely mimic heart attacks for some people—they may feel chest pain, shortness of breath and heart palpitations, or a racing heartbeat.
Researchers found that at around 6:30 a.m. the circadian system sends out an increased amount of PAI-1 cells which blocks blood clots from breaking down. The more PAI-1 cells in the blood, the higher the risk for a blood clot that leads to a heart attack.
What time of day is a heart attack most likely to happen? “Most heart attacks hit during the early morning hours from 4 – 10 am when blood platelets are stickier, and there is increased adrenaline released from the adrenal glands that can trigger rupture of plaques in coronary arteries,” said Dr. Goodroe.
Share on Pinterest Sudden cardiac arrest can occur any time of the day, says a new study. Until now, the consensus has been that a range of cardiovascular events, such as angina, heart attacks, and stroke, tend to happen mostly in the early hours of the morning.
Age. The majority of heart attack deaths occur in patients ages 65 and older, but a man's risk begins to increase at 45 (for women, it starts at 55).
Heart Palpitations and Anxiety. Heart palpitations due to anxiety feel like your heart is racing, fluttering, pounding or skipping a beat. Your heartbeat can increase in response to specific stressful situations. You may also have palpitations due to an anxiety disorder (excessive or persistent worry).
The difference is that, when extra heartbeats in the upper and lower chambers are the cause of abnormal rhythm, symptoms may feel like an initial skip or hard thumping beat followed by a racing heart. When anxiety is the trigger, heart rate typically increases steadily rather than suddenly.
Cardiac anxiety is when you have a heart problem or have had a cardiac event, but your worries are disproportionate and are having a negative effect on your daily life.” Either type of anxiety can be difficult to live with, so if it's affecting your life, it's important to get help.
The good news, however, is that 80% of premature heart attacks and strokes are preventable. Healthy diet, regular physical activity, and not using tobacco products are the keys to prevention.
Stress may lead to high blood pressure, which can pose a risk for heart attack and stroke. Stress also may contribute to such cardiovascular disease risks as smoking, overeating and lack of physical activity. "Chronic stress has been shown to be associated with increased cardiovascular events," Schiffrin said.