Raju Srivastava passes away at 58; expert on how cardiac arrest leads to brain injury

Updated on Sep 21, 2022 11:02 AM IST

After battling for his life for more than a month post a heart attack, comedian Raju Srivastava died aged 58 in Delhi. Here's how cardiac arrest causes brain injury.

Raju Srivastava passes away at 58. He had suffered a heart attack on August 10.
Raju Srivastava passes away at 58. He had suffered a heart attack on August 10.
By, Delhi

Comedian Raju Srivastava has breathed his last in Delhi's AIIMS hospital today (September 21) morning at around 10:20 am, almost 40 days after he suffered a cardiac arrest while working out in a Delhi gym on August 10 (Wednesday). According to reports The Great Indian Laughter Challenge star who was taken to Delhi's AIIMS hospital, suffered a brain injury after heart attack and showed little improvement since then. We asked an expert what happens to the body during cardiac arrest and how it goes on to damage brain in many cases. (Also read: Comedian Raju Srivastava suffers heart attack in gym; is too much exercise bad for heart?)

What is cardiac arrest

Sudden cardiac death from cardiac arrest is the most common cause of death worldwide. Cardiac arrest is defined as the cessation of cardiac activity as confirmed by the absence of signs of circulation.

"Cardiac arrest occurs suddenly, disrupting the blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body. With a cardiac arrest which is left untreated, irreversible brain damage occurs within 3-8 minutes and death rapidly follows. About 90 per cent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die," says Dr Mohit Garg, consultant and head of accident and emergency at Global Hospital, Parel.

How cardiac arrest causes brain injury

"Even in patients who are resuscitated or revived from cardiac arrest, post-cardiac arrest brain injury is the main cause of death, and the main cause of long-term disability in those who survive the acute phase. This is attributed to the fact that even though the brain constitutes only 2% of body weight, it receives 15–20% of total blood volume pumped by the heart for its normal functioning.

Brain tissue viability strongly depends on consistent supply of oxygen and glucose, and cessation of blood flow to the brain results in an immediate interruption of brain activity, causing a hypoxic brain injury – similar to that of comedian Raju Shrivastava after suffering a heart attack," says Dr Garg.

Citing an example of how a cardiac arrest was successfully handled recently, Dr Mohit Garg, said a 37-year old man who had sudden chest pain half-n-hour before arriving to hospital was brought to emergency last week. Dr Garg added that the patient was gasping for breath, had no pulse and no signs of life but he was immediately given cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) - his initial rhythm was a ventricular fibrillation and he was shocked immediately - intubated and all life-saving drugs were given to him. The doctor said that after a gruesome 22 minutes, the patient's heart started again and he was immediately rushed for an angioplasty as his ECG and bedside 2D Echo were suggestive of a massive heart attack.

"Against all odds, this patient walked back home with no neuro-deficit. He was clinically dead for 22 minutes, but miraculously, doctors brought him back to life, a tale nothing short of a medical miracle. Not everyone is lucky like that patient. Hence, bystander and first responder resuscitation become extremely crucial. CPR effectively keeps blood flowing and provides oxygen to the brain and other vital organs, giving the victim a better chance for a full recovery," says Dr Garg.

Why people have sudden cardiac deaths

"The increasing incidence of heart attack in current generation is mainly because of unhealthy food habits smoking poor exercise capacity abdominal obesity poor sleep and increasing stress both in work and domestic related environment. This leads to the development of cholesterol block in the blood vessels of the heart which can rupture during physical stress leading to heart attack during or after workout in the gym," says Dr Kathiresan- Consultant Cardiologist, Prashanth Hospitals, Chennai.

"But this phenomenon cannot occur if there is no pre-existing blockage. Hence proper individual risk assessment and investigations like certain blood tests echocardiogram treadmill test or sometimes CT Coronary angiogram can help in identifying patients with asymptomatic blockages in heart," adds Dr Kathiresan.

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