Many sudden cardiac arrests preceded by warning signs

Sudden cardiac arrest isn't always so sudden, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013.

In a study of middle-age men in Portland, Oregon, more than half had possible warning signs up to a month before their hearts stopped abruptly.

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops due to a failure in its electrical system. Patients can sometimes survive if they receive CPR immediately and a defibrillator is used quickly to shock the into a normal rhythm.

About 360,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are reported each year in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. Only 9.5 percent of people who suffer a outside the hospital survive.

"By the time rescuers get there, it's much too late," said Eloi Marijon, M.D., study lead author and a visiting scientist at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles.

The new research is part of the 11-year-old Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, which involves 1 million people in the Portland metro area. Researchers gathered information about the and health history of men 35 to 65 years old who had out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in 2002-12.

Among 567 men who had out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, 53 percent had symptoms prior to the cardiac arrest. Of those with symptoms, 56 percent had chest pain, 13 percent had shortness of breath and 4 percent had dizziness, fainting or palpitations.

Almost 80 percent of the symptoms occurred between four weeks and one hour before the , he said.

Most men had , but only about half had been tested for it before their cardiac arrest.

Researchers are conducting similar work in women.

"The lesson is, if you have these kinds of symptoms, please don't blow them off," said Sumeet Chugh, M.D., senior author and associate director for genomic cardiology at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. "Go see your healthcare provider. Don't waste time."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Most seniors eligible for statin Rx under new guidelines

Nov 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Most older Americans qualify for treatment with statins under new guidelines for the treatment of blood cholesterol released late last year by the American College of Cardiology and the American ...

Asymptomatic atherosclerosis linked to cognitive impairment

Nov 25, 2014

In a study of nearly 2,000 adults, researchers found that a buildup of plaque in the body's major arteries was associated with mild cognitive impairment. Results of the study conducted at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.