Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter, is chief of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He practices interventional, vascular, and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the Cardiovascular Surgery Division. Dr. Crandall regularly lectures nationally and internationally on preventive cardiology, cardiology healthcare of the elderly, healing, interventional cardiology, and heart transplants. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients.

Tags: sudden cardiac death | sudden cardiac arrest | chaotic heartbeat | heartbeat irregularity | ventricular fibrillation

Stop Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Wednesday, 17 October 2012 09:18 AM

Sudden cardiac death is caused by a condition known as cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart unexpectedly stops beating.

People generally do not survive sudden cardiac arrest unless the heartbeat is restored within minutes by an electrical shock. While the majority of sudden cardiac deaths occur in people who have had previous heart attacks or have an underlying coronary artery disease, it can also happen in people whose disease is silent. Far too often, sudden cardiac death will be the first indication that there is something wrong with their heart.

Sudden cardiac arrest is not technically a heart attack. However, it can occur during a heart attack. Sudden cardiac arrest is caused by a heartbeat irregularity called ventricular fibrillation. This is a fast, chaotic heartbeat that affects the ventricles — the bottom chambers of the heart.

When fibrillation causes the ventricles to flutter and quiver, it prevents them from pumping oxygen-filled blood to the rest of the body. If untreated, this sudden loss of heart function results in almost instantaneous death.

More than 50 percent of the time, sudden cardiac arrest occurs dramatically, resulting in no pulse, no heartbeat, and a loss of consciousness. Sometimes, however, symptoms will occur, including:
• Extreme fatigue
• Fainting
• Dizziness
• Shortness of breath
• Racing heartbeat or palpitations
• Weakness
• Vomiting
• Bluish body color that can indicate cyanosis, which is a lack of oxygen in the blood

Today, there are two major ways to sharply reduce your risk of cardiac death. If you have heartbeat irregularities, there are medications to reduce their occurrence. If you have experienced cardiac arrest, or you are at very high risk for it, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) could save your life.

There are a variety of drugs that can be used on an emergency or long-term basis to treat irregular heartbeats. These include beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and other anti-arrhythmic agents.

If you’ve already had an episode of cardiac arrest, you are at extreme risk for another. In this case, you may very well be a candidate for an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), which reduces your risk of dying from another one. This battery-powered device, which is surgically implanted near the collarbone, constantly monitors your heart rhythm.

If your heartbeat is too slow, the ICD acts like a pacemaker. If it detects a dangerous heart rhythm, it sends out low- or high-energy shocks to reset your heart to a normal rhythm.

Another thing you can do is take 200 mg of magnesium every day. Magnesium is known as the “relaxation” mineral because of its ability to relax muscle spasms. It also helps to prevent irregular heartbeats.

According to a 2010 study published in the American Heart Journal, people with high levels of magnesium circulating in their blood had a 42 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death.

© HealthDay

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Wednesday, 17 October 2012 09:18 AM
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