If your heart stops beating, it is called cardiac arrest. This condition is extremely life-threatening and requires emergency medical care. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of cardiac arrest, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Dignity Health offers treatment for cardiac arrest in Arizona, including life-saving defibrillation. Our hospitals have received designation as a Cardiac Arrest Center by the Arizona Department of Health Services for demonstrating coordination with local emergency medical personnel to provide specific life-saving protocols 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Cardiac Arrest Symptoms
Someone in cardiac arrest will not respond to sound or physical touch. They will collapse, be unconscious, have no pulse, and will not be breathing.
Cardiac arrest is usually caused by an arrhythmia, or abnormal heartbeat. The symptoms leading up to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat
- Rapid or erratic pulse
- Feeling like your heart is pounding
- Unusually slow pulse (fewer than 60 beats per minute)
Call 9-1-1 if you or a loved one are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms.
Cardiac Arrest Causes
The most common cause of cardiac arrest is a severe arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation. It causes the chambers of the heart to start fluttering or quivering, instead of beating normally. Eventually, the heart will stop beating completely. Ventricular tachycardia (extremely fast heart beats) can also cause cardiac arrest.
Cardiac Arrest Treatment & Prevention at Dignity Health
In most cases, treatment for cardiac arrest requires immediate care by trained emergency responders. The emergency medical responders may perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to restart the heart.
Talk with your health care provider about ways to prevent cardiac arrest. These may include:
- Getting prompt treatment for an irregular or abnormal heartbeat
- Treating and monitoring a known heart problem, such as high blood pressure or a heart valve disease
- Following a heart-healthy lifestyle to avoid developing heart failure
- Having a heart assessment before engaging in sports
- Avoiding illicit drugs
- Talking with your doctor about the potential side effects of medications you take for a heart rhythm disorder
Dignity Health is dedicated to heart disease awareness, for the purposes of preventing cardiac arrest in Arizona, as part of our cardiology services.