Cardiac arrest: Warning signs, symptoms, risk factors, causes, and recovery

Cardiac arrest: Warning signs, symptoms, risk factors, causes, and recovery

dr vanita blog dateJuly 26, 2022 | 3 minutes read time

When the heart unexpectedly or suddenly stops pumping, it’s called cardiac arrest. As a result, the other vital organs like the brain don’t receive oxygenated blood. More often than not, cardiac arrest leads to death, the top heart doctor explains.

Cardiac arrest is often confused with heart attack, Dr. Vanita highlights. Though both are fatal events in most cases, the latter is caused by a blockage in the artery carrying blood to the heart. On the other hand, sudden cardiac arrest occurs due to issues with the heart’s electrical conduction system.

Cardiac arrest is also referred to as sudden cardiac death. It happens when the upper or lower chambers (atria or ventricles) stop beating.

Warning Signs & Symptoms

Identifying the early warning signs of cardiac arrest can help prevent the event, the leading heart doctor advises.

Some of those early warning signs are:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness

If you can tick most of these signs, and they also occur persistently, it’s best to consult a heart specialist like Dr. Vanita.

There are other, more urgent signs of cardiac arrest, including:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Collapse
  • Difficulty breathing or gasping for breath
  • No pulse
  • Chest pain

The patient needs immediate emergency care under such circumstances.

However, in many cases, there are no signs and symptoms. To prevent cardiac arrest, you must schedule regular checkups with a cardiologist.

Risk Factors for Cardiac Arrest

Certain heart conditions can amplify the risk of cardiac arrest.

  • Coronary heart disease: A heart attack can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Coronary heart disease is caused by the accumulation of fatty food matter in coronary arteries, the ones responsible for supplying blood to the heart.
  • Irregular heart valves: Due to certain valve diseases like valvular stenosis, the blood either does not fill to capacity or overloads the heart chambers.
  • Large heart: Individuals with structurally large hearts are also at risk of cardiac arrest.  In such people, the heart faces difficulty in beating properly.
  • Electrical impulse problems: Various types of arrhythmias are major risk factors. They either cause the heart to beat too fast or too slow.
  • Congenital heart disease: People born with heart conditions like the underdeveloped heart and coarctation of the aorta are vulnerable to cardiac arrest.

Other risk factors include:

  • Substance abuse, smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Low magnesium and potassium content

Treatment & Recovery

During an event of cardiac arrest, bystanders must perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the patient until the first responders arrive. Doctors may perform defibrillation to restart the heart.

If the person survives the event, doctors begin treatment to aid recovery and prevent another episode. The recovery phase mainly comprises dietary changes, exercise, medication, and surgery (if needed).

Talk to Dr. Vanita Arora

A leading heart specialist in India, Dr. Vanita has been treating patients for almost three decades. She has various specialties, including HIS bundle pacing, AICD implantation, leadless pacemaker, sudden cardiac arrest, cardiac resynchronization therapy, and more.

Dr. Vanita can precisely determine the signs of cardiac arrest, identify what’s causing them, and recommend steps, medications, or procedures to prevent cardiac arrests as well as aid your recovery.

Fix an appointment on her website or call at +91 98738 79994. You can also drop an email at

OPD details

    Dr. Vanita Arora is Senior Consultant Cardiac Electrophysiologist & Interventional Cardiologist at Apollo Hospital, Delhi. She has been a successful Cardiologist in India for the last 28 years. She is a DNB Cardiology, MD - Medicine, M.B.B.S . You can visit her at Apollo Hospital, Delhi. To book an appointment online with Dr. Vanita Arora - the best cardiologist in India, please contact us.

  • Apollo Hospital, Mathura Road, New Delhi

  • Mon, Wed, Fri: 12 NOON - 3 PM
    Tues, Wed, Thurs: 4 PM to 6 PM

Unrestricted license to practice medicine anywhere in India. Registration No.15123 Delhi Medical Council, Delhi, lndia

Promoted by Fix Me Digitally