0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Patient Page |

Cardiac Arrest FREE

Janet M. Torpy, MD, Writer; Cassio Lynm, MA, Illustrator; Richard M. Glass, MD, Editor
JAMA. 2006;295(1):124. doi:10.1001/jama.295.1.124.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

The heart pumps blood to all of the body's organs. If the heart stops functioning (cardiac arrest), blood flow ceases, organs begin to shut down, and within a few minutes the person will die. If cardiac arrest can be detected and treated immediately, serious organ damage, brain damage, or death may be prevented. Cardiac arrest can occur in adults and children. It may happen suddenly in a person who was thought to be healthy. Community-based programs emphasizing activation of emergency medical services (calling 911 in most areas of North America), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and rapid defibrillation (correcting an abnormal heart rhythm with an electrical shock from a defibrillator) have raised public awareness about cardiac arrest and its treatment. However, cardiac arrest remains a major cause of death in all parts of the world. The January 4, 2006, issue of JAMA includes an article about the outcome of cardiac arrest in children and in adults.

CAUSES OF CARDIAC ARREST

  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)

  • Some kinds of arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)

  • Severe blood loss from traumatic injury or internal bleeding

  • Electrical shock injury

  • Lack of oxygen supply from events like choking, drowning, or a severe asthma attack

  • Cardiogenic shock (heart failure because of inadequate heart pumping function)

  • Stroke (sudden loss of blood supply in the brain)

  • Heart valve or heart muscle disease

  • Certain genetic disorders that affect the heart

DIAGNOSIS

When cardiac arrest occurs, the individual becomes unresponsive and unconscious. There is no pulse, no blood pressure, and no breathing. If an electrocardiogram is done, there is either no electrical activity from the heart or a heart rhythm (such as ventricular fibrillation) that does not produce effective heart function.

TREATMENT

  • CALL 911 OR YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE NUMBER

  • Rapid defibrillation using an automated external defibrillator (AED), found in many large public places and in commercial airplanes

  • CPR and rapid transfer to the appropriate medical facility

  • Treatment of specific problems like heart attack, stroke, or trauma by specialized medical teams

PREVENTION

  • See your doctor regularly and follow treatment plans for chronic medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

  • Do not smoke.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Eat a balanced diet low in saturated fat and high in nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Some evidence suggests that eating seafood regularly can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death.

  • Talk with your doctor about an implanted defibrillator if you have severe heart disease.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

INFORM YOURSELF

To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page Index on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com. Many are available in English and Spanish. A Patient Page on cardiopulmonary resuscitation was published in the January 19, 2005, issue; and one on electrocardiograms was published in the April 23/30, 2003, issue.

Sources: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; American Heart Association

The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 718/946-7424.

TOPIC: HEART DISEASE

Tables

References

CME
Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.

Multimedia

Spanish Patient Pages
Supplemental Content

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles
A Rare Case of Central Nervous System Tuberculosis. Case Rep Infect Dis 2014;2014():186030.
Monitoring the microcirculation in critically ill patients. Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol 2014;28(4):441-451.
JAMAevidence.com

Users' Guides to the Medical Literature
Clinical Resolution

Users' Guides to the Medical Literature
Clinical Scenario