Skip to main content

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)


With two young sports stars dying suddenly, Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is in the news. DR VIJAY SURASE explains what it's all about.

Can happen to the fittest too...Photo: AFP
Can happen to the fittest too...Photo: AFP
Football is often seen as the sport of the absolutely fit. After all, running across a field for more than over two hours needs the best of human ability and strength. But recently there have been a few shocking incidents on the field that are beyond comprehension. Former Italy Under-21 midfielder Piermario Morosini died after collapsing on the pitch and suffering a cardiac arrest during a match. He was 25. Indian football player D. Venkatesh (27) died after collapsing on the field during a local league game in Bangalore last month. These events have left us wondering: can a heart attack or Sudden Cardiac Arrest target even the fittest?

Who is at risk?

Sudden Cardiac Arrests (SCA) occurs in active outwardly healthy people with no known heart disease or other health problems. But this is not a random event. In 30 per cent of the cases, it is the first symptom of heart disease. Some contributors to SCD are:

Overdose on prescription drugs: 
Taking painkillers like Demerol and Oxycontin can lead to heart attacks, as they lower oxygen in the blood. Even medication like tranquilisers and sedatives, which lead to disturbed breathing, can cause SCD. Inadequate dosage of legal medications, such as beta blockers (commonly used for hypertension), can result in sudden cardiac arrest.

Earlier heart attack: 
75 per cent of those who die of SCD show signs of a previous heart attack.

Coronary artery disease: 
80 per cent of SCD victims have signs of coronary artery disease, in which the arteries that supply blood to the heart are narrowed or blocked.

Diagnosis


Electrocardiogram: A painless test in which electrodes are attached to the patient's chest to record the electrical activity of the heart in order to identify abnormal heart rhythms.

Echocardiogram: A painless test in which sound waves are used to create a moving picture of the heart. The test can measure the pumping ability of the heart.

Holter monitor: A Walkman-sized or even smaller recorder that patients attach to their chest for one to two days, recording a longer sampling of their heart rhythm.

Event recorder: A pager-sized device that also records the electrical activity of the heart over a longer period of time.

Electrophysiology study (EPS): A local anaesthetic is used to numb areas in the groin or neck and thin flexible wires called catheters are snaked up to the heart to record its electrical signals. During the study, the cardiologist-electrophysiologist studies the speed and flow of electrical signals through the heart and identifies rhythm problems.

Prevention and cure

Living a healthy life is the best way to keep SCD at bay. This includes not smoking, exercising regularly, eating well and maintaining an optimum weight. Monitoring and treating problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol also help prevent SCD. For some patients, treating abnormal heart rhythms is the only way of keeping SCD away. This can be done by:

Medication: Certain medications control abnormal heart rhythms or treat other conditions that may contribute to heart disease or SCD.

Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs): Like a pacemaker, ICDs are implanted under the skin. Wires run from the ICD to the heart, and the device monitors the heart to detect abnormal rhythms. If a dangerous rhythm is detected, the ICD delivers an electrical shock to restore normal rhythm and prevent sudden cardiac death.

Catheter Ablation: In this technique, radiofrequency energy (heat), cryotherapy (freezing), or other energy forms are used to abort electrical functions in small areas of heart muscle that give rise to the abnormal electrical signals that cause irregular heart rhythms.

Danger signs

An abnormal heart rate or rhythm

An unusually rapid heart rate that comes and goes, even when the person is at rest

Episodes of fainting due to unknown cause

A low heart pumping/ejection fraction (EF). Ejection fraction measures how much blood is 
pumped by the ventricles with each heart beat. A healthy heart pumps 55 per cent or more of its blood with each beat. People at highest risk for SCD have ejection fractions of less than 40 per cent.

Source : The Hindu

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram

FEATURE H&FW B.   Narzary * Reducing the maternal and infant mortality rate is the key goal feature of the Reproductive and Child Health Programme under the National Rural Health Mission. Several initiatives have been launched by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare under the Mission including  Janani   Suraksha   Yojana , a key intervention that has resulted in phenomenal growth in institutional deliveries with more than one  crore  women  beneficiaries  annually. JSY was launched to promote institutional deliveries so that skilled attendance at birth is made available  and  mothers and new born babies can be saved from pregnancy related complications and deaths.

Folk Dances of India

India is a land of diverse cultures and traditions. Each region of the country has a unique culture, which is also prominently visible in its various art forms. Almost all the regions of the country have their specific folk music and dance, which proves to be a wonderful way of expression of their community and its traditions. Though these folk dances are not as complex as the classical dance forms, they are very beautiful, because of the essence of rawness in them. Be it the Bihu of Assam, Dol-Cholom of Manipur, Hikal of Himachal Pradesh or Chhau of Bihar, each of the Indian folk dance forms comes across as a reflection of the deep sited beliefs and traditions of a particular culture. The folk dances of any community are performed on almost every special occasion and festival, to express elation and joy. These dances are also considered to be auspicious by many of the tribal communities in the country. Many folk dances are dedicated to the presiding deity of the specific commu

Schemes & Facilities for the Senior Citizens

  FEATURE SJE A demographic revolution is taking place throughout the world indicating a phenomenal rise in the population of the elderly. According to a UN estimate, the population of the people aged 60 years and above is expected to grow to 1.2 billion by 2025 and to 2 billion by 2050. Today, about two thirds of all the older people are living in the developing world. As per the Census 2001, in India, there were 77 million persons above 60 years constituting 7.5% of the total population of the country. This number is projected to go up to  12.4% of the population in 2026.  Such an increase obviously will throw up numerous challenges in designing old age specific programmes and schemes and addressing their issues in a comprehensive manner.   The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment  announced a National Policy for Older Persons in January, 1999. This policy reaffirmed the commitment of the Government to ensure the well-being of the older persons in a h