Warning Signs May Precede Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Written by Editor   
Sunday, February 07, 2016 12:00 AM

Taking note of symptoms of potential cardiac arrest may help treatment. 

 Sudden cardiac arrest may not be as sudden as it is widely perceived to be, with warning symptoms occurring in a large percentage of patients in the days and even weeks before the event, researchers reported.

About half of patients who experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrest reported symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath.  “The dogma has been that cardiac arrest is defined by its unexpected nature, but we found that warning symptoms did occur in a significant percentage of patients. This finding highlights a potential new window of opportunity to prevent deaths and even prevent sudden cardiac arrest from occurring,” the authors of this report note.

The next challenge is to identify a pattern of symptoms and circumstances that is more specific for SCA to identify at-risk people, the author said.  "Obviously, not everyone with chest pain or shortness of breath should be picking up the phone and calling 911. But now that we know this window of opportunity exists, we may be able to come up with ways to better identify people at risk.”  Chest pain and dyspnea were the most common symptoms reported.  In most symptomatic patients (93%), symptoms recurred within the 24 hours preceding their SCA.

More than 550,000 community and in-hospital cardiac arrest occur each year in the U.S. accounting for more than half of annual cardiovascular deaths. "Survival after SCA remains very low and stable (approximately 7%), despite major investments by the medical and research communities in SCA over the past decades," they wrote.



Source:  http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/Arrhythmias/55351