1. How serious is the risk of sudden arrest? Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death each year. Your risk depends on the heart abnormality you have. Discuss your risk with your physician.
2. Is sudden cardiac arrest the same as a heart attack? No, a heart attack happens when there is vessel blockage or coronary artery disease. This prevents enough blood from getting to specific areas of the heart, causing a heart attack. Sudden cardiac arrest is when there is an electrical problem with the heart. A severe heart attack may put you at risk for the development of a life-threatening arrhythmia which can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. For more information, visit www.HRSonline.org.
3. What causes an arrhythmia? Arrhythmia is usually caused by a problem with the electrical system of your heart. Life-threatening arrhythmias include ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF).
4. What is the difference between VT and VF? Ventricular tachycardia or VT is an abnormally fast heartbeat, beating more than 100 beats per minute, compared to a normal heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute. VT can turn into ventricular fibrillation or VF. When the heart beats so fast, more than 200 to 300 beats per minute, it shivers or trembles instead of pumping blood to your brain and body. With VT or VF, you may lose consciousness.
5. What are the symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest? Some of these symptoms may come before sudden cardiac arrest, but often there is no warning.
- Fatigue or weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
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