At Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates, under management of a leading NYC heart specialist & cardiologist Dr. Ghalchi we perform all standard and state-of-the-art cardiovascular diagnostic testing procedures to diagnose, prevent and monitor cardiac and vascular diseases including cardiac arrest. Our diagnostic center is equipped with latest equipment to produce the most accurate diagnostic information for cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiac Arrest & Sudden Cardiac Death
Cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death is responsible for about 325,000 deaths per year in the United States, making it the leading cause of natural death in the country. Contrary to popular belief, most victims are in their 30s and 40s. Men are twice as likely as women to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest and death.
Sudden cardiac death is the result of cardiac arrest, a condition in which the heart’s electrical signaling malfunctions and causes it to be unable to pump blood effectively. This is not the same as a heart attack, per cardiovascular doctor a heart attack can be the immediate cause of cardiac arrest and there are similar risk factors.
During cardiac arrest, the heart may flutter, beat irregularly, or stop beating completely. The result is a loss of blood flow to the rest of the body, most crucially to the brain. This is why people in cardiac arrest lose consciousness very quickly. Cardiac arrest is treatable, but it must be reversed within minutes to prevent death.
Causes Are Mostly Reversible
Given the often-surprising onset of cardiac arrest, one of the best modes of prevention is to be aware of the most common causes. Speaking with your heart specialist or cardiovascular doctor is a good way to determine which causes might be most important for you to address.
Based on numerous cardiology studies provided by cardiovascular doctors in US the biggest risk tied to cardiac arrest is coronary heart disease, in which the arteries leading to the heart get blocked and tightened by plaque buildup. Most people who experience a cardiac arrest have some level of coronary heart disease, but it can go undetected because you don’t present any symptoms.
Many causes of coronary heart disease overlap with the causes and risk factors for cardiac arrest. Some to watch out for are:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Lack of physical activity
- Poor nutrition (lack of variety, vitamins)
- Drug use
- Sleep apnea
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Very intense physical activity (especially if it’s out of the ordinary)
Of course, there are limits to how much you can control. But awareness is the key to prevention, so by knowing your risks, you can take actions to stay safe and healthy. Talk to your cardiologist or heart doctor in NYC to get proper testing and treatment.
Related Issues Increase Those Odds
People whose relatives have experienced sudden cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death are much more likely to experience it themselves. But cardiac arrest is often the final result of other factors. You might be at increased risk due to genetic factors, even if no one in your family has suffered an actual cardiac arrest. Ask your cardiovascular doctor for a full list of risk factors. Other factors include:
- Long QT Syndrome: Erratic heart rhythms (arrhythmias) are the direct cause of cardiac arrest. The heart uses electrical signaling to contract rhythmically, but in long QT syndrome, part of the contraction takes longer than usual. This tendency can be aggravated by medications, intense physical activity, and stress. Although this condition is often fatal, the risk is dramatically lower in people who are aware they have it and make necessary adjustments.
- Structural Heart Disease: In some cases, the vessels and valves that make up the heart have structural defects. These are actually the most common birth defects, and they tend to run in families, often increasing the risk factor for cardiac arrest. Surgery is sometimes appropriate, although less invasive treatments and lifestyle adaptations can be effective as well.
- Heart Failure: Heart failure is when the heart is unable to pump out enough blood to serve the rest of the body. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but it always increases the risk of cardiac arrest. When the heart is struggling, the electrical signaling can be disrupted. There are many treatments for heart failure that can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death.
Responding to Cardiac Arrest
Although there aren’t always signs of impending cardiac arrest, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and chest pain can be warnings. Symptoms of a cardiac arrest episode that needs immediate cardiologists attention can include:
- Losing consciousness
- Collapsing suddenly with little or no warning
- Stopping breathing
- Losing a pulse
Once cardiac arrest occurs, the victim collapses and loses consciousness quickly. If you’re with someone who passes out and you suspect cardiac arrest, the best things to do are:
- Call 911 immediately
- Perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
Since cardiac arrest is so sudden and lethal, the best defense is preparedness and education. With even the slightest chance that you may be vulnerable to a cardiac arrest, you should see your NYC cardiologist or hear doctor to prevent a fatal attack.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Lifesavers
Defibrillation is the process by which an electrical signal is sent directly to your heart to get it to start beating once it’s stopped. It’s what paramedics and ER doctors do on television when they call out, “Clear!”
Along with CPR, an automated external defibrillator (AED) is one of the most effective tools for treating cardiac arrest. Defibrillators, once confined to hospital rooms and emergency centers, now are effectively used in the field. An AED is a small portable device that can deliver that life-saving shock before you are even transported to the hospital where you’ll receive further cardiovascular treatment.
Long-Term Treatment Options
If you are at risk for or have recovered from an episode of cardiac arrest, your heart or cardiovascular doctor in NYC may recommend other treatments to help you prevent another episode. Such treatments could include:
- Implanted defibrillator that responds with a shock to your heart when necessary.
- Anti-arrhythmic medications or another class of medicines called beta-blockers that are effective for treating heart disease.
- Bypass surgery, a procedure designed to replace damaged blood vessels with healthier pathways for blood flow.
- Angioplasty and stenting, which involves the insertion of a long, thin tube through a vein in your groin or leg. The catheter has a balloon-type apparatus surrounded by a stent on the end, which the cardiologist then inflates to open up your artery for better blood flow to your heart.
Prevention, the Best Route
Prevention is the best way to address cardiac arrest and avoid sudden cardiac death. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, quitting smoking, avoiding stress and keeping drinking to moderate levels are great ways to reduce risk.
See your cardiologist in NYC if you display the most common symptoms related to cardiac arrest:
However, many of the most prominent risks go unaddressed even by most experienced NYC cardiologists until you undergo in-depth testing by cardiovascular doctor such as:
Schedule an appointment with a top heart doctor in NYC, Dr. Michael Ghalchi at Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates to determine the state of your heart’s health. Do it today.
Dr. Michael Ghalchi, Cardiologist (Cardiologist NYC, Midtown)
New York, NY10010
(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
☎ (212) 686-0066