What is double cardiac arrest? How to improve chances of survival | Health - Hindustan Times
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What is double cardiac arrest? How to improve chances of survival

By, New Delhi
Sep 06, 2023 11:26 AM IST

Double cardiac arrest is a very rare and dangerous medical emergency that can occur in those with pre-existing heart problems or cardiac risk factors.

Brazilian fitness influencer Larissa Borges, 33, died of double cardiac arrest leaving fans and family in shock. The first cardiac arrest that sent Borges in coma was followed by a second cardiac arrest which led to her death. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops pumping due to which the blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs of the body. People who have a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and who indulge in smoking and drinking are more susceptible for cardiac arrest. (Also read: Sudden cardiac arrest in children: Warning signs and symptoms, prevention tips)

Cardiac arrests are caused by certain types of arrhythmias that prevent the heart from pumping blood(Freepik)
Cardiac arrests are caused by certain types of arrhythmias that prevent the heart from pumping blood(Freepik)

"Cardiac arrests are caused by certain types of arrhythmias (a problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat) that prevent the heart from pumping blood," says Dr Kunal Sinkar, Consultant Cardiologist, Holy Family Hospital, Bandra, Mumbai.

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While people use cardiac arrest and heart attack interchangeably, they are different from each other.

"Sudden heart attack is different from cardiac arrest. Heart attack occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart is obstructed. A blockage is not the cause of sudden cardiac arrest. A heart attack, on the other hand, might produce a shift in the electrical activity of the heart, leading to rapid cardiac arrest," says the expert.

Symptoms of cardiac arrest

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Unexplained wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness

What is double cardiac arrest?

"Double cardiac arrest occurs when the heart’s atria and ventricles both undergo cardiac arrest simultaneously. In a common cardiac arrest scenario, an arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) in either the atria or the ventricles would occur, which would result in a loss of efficient pumping motion. When the atria and ventricles are both damaged at the same time, it is a particularly serious and deadly situation because the heart is unable to pump blood adequately, depriving the body’s essential organs, including the brain, of oxygen and blood," says Dr Sinkar.

What causes double cardiac arrest?

Double cardiac arrest is a very rare and dangerous medical emergency that can occur in those with pre-existing heart problems or cardiac risk factors.

"Cardiac arrest is more likely to occur in people with a history of coronary artery disease or significant heart artery blockages. Cardiac arrest may result from heart attack damage to the heart muscle and disruption of the electrical conduction system. A family history of sudden cardiac arrest or certain heart conditions may indicate a higher risk. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, a family history of sudden cardiac arrest, a family history of sudden cardiac arrest, can also lead to cardiac arrest," says Dr Sinkar.

How can double cardiac arrest be treated or prevented?

Double cardiac arrest is deadlier than a usual cardiac arrest but timely treatment can increase odds of survival.

"The chances of survival are typically lower in double cardiac arrest than in cases of single-chamber cardiac arrest. However, it is not always fatal. Quick and efficient intervention such as CPR and defibrillation can be life-saving procedures if started during the first few minutes after the incident," says Dr Sinkar.

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