sudden cardiac arrest

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Related to sudden cardiac arrest: heart attack, American Heart Association, Sudden cardiac death

sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)

an abrupt, complete loss of heart function that results in loss of blood circulation within the body. An episode of sudden cardiac arrest may be preceded by arrhythmias, including ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation. It is not caused by the blockage of coronary arteries. Within the United States, as many as 450,000 persons may experience sudden cardiac arrest each year; survivors face a 30% to 50% chance of experiencing a repeat episode. Sudden cardiac arrest is reversible in most patients if it is treated within minutes. Compare myocardial infarction and acute myocardial infarction.


(a-rest') [Fr. arester fr L. arrestare, to stop]
1. The state of being stopped.
2. To bring to a stop.

active phase arrest

Cessation of the progress of labor despite treatment with appropriate doses of oxytocin. It is an indication of the need for cesarean delivery.

bradyasystolic arrest

Cardiac arrest marked by an extremely slow pulse, usually less than 30 beats/min. This can be due to increased vagal stimulation, progressive heart block, hypoxemia, drugs such as beta blockers, or other causes.

cardiac arrest

Sudden cessation of functional circulation. In the U.S., about 1000 people die daily as a result of cardiac arrest. Synonym: cardiopulmonary arrest; sudden cardiac arrest See: arrhythmia; myocardial infarction


Coronary artery disease is present in most victims. Cardiac arrest is usually caused by myocardial infarction or ventricular arrhythmias. Contributing causes include cardiomyopathies, valvular heart disease, diseases of the electrical conducting system of the heart (such as the long QT syndrome or the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome), myocarditis, chest trauma, severe electrolyte disturbances, and intoxications with drugs of abuse or prescribed agents, e.g., digitalis. Physical exertion or extreme emotional stress sometimes precipitates cardiac arrest.


Abrupt loss of consciousness, followed by death within an hour of onset, is the typical presentation of cardiac arrest.


Opening the airway, establishing effective respiration, and restoring circulation (with chest compression and defibrillation) are the keys to treating cardiac arrest. The effectiveness of treatment depends upon the speed with which resuscitation begins and upon the patient's underlying condition. Because most episodes of sudden cardiac arrest are unwitnessed, most patients die without treatment (spontaneous recovery from cardiac arrest in the absence of advanced cardiac life support is very rare). For resuscitated patients, therapies include implantable defibrillators, beta blockers, antiarrhythmic drugs, and, in patients with coronary artery disease, modification of risk factors, i.e., treatment of hypertension, smoking cessation, and lipid-lowering diets and drugs. See: table, advanced cardiac life support

* IO=intraosseous † IV=intravenous cannula ‡ ET=endotracheal
Peripheral IVEasiest to insert during chest compressions; least traumatic to the patient.Drugs infused into a peripheral vein take several minutes to reach the heart.
Central IVDrugs and fluids infused into central veins reach the heart in seconds.Insertion may be difficult during chest compressions, intubation, and defibrillation. Arterial injury, pneumothorax, hemothorax, and other complications are common in emergency insertions.
IntraosseousDrugs and fluids infused into marrow reach the central circulation rapidly.Clinical experience with IO* insertion is limited relative to IV† insertion.
EndotrachealMay be used for drug administration when an airway is present, but other forms of access have not been established.Double or triple the IV† dose is needed to achieve similar drug effect. Drugs given ET‡ should be diluted in 5–10 ml of sterile water. Correct placement of the ET tube must be confirmed before use. Unlike the other modes of access, this route cannot be used to infuse high volumes of fluids.

cardiopulmonary arrest

Cardiac arrest.

cleavage arrest

In embryology, an obstruction to or a halt in cell division.

deep hypothermic circulatory arrest

Abbreviation: DHCA
The induction of profoundly low body temperatures, e.g. 20°C (68°F), during surgery to reduce the impact of low organ perfusion and ischemic damage.

epiphyseal arrest

Cessation of the growth of long bones.

pelvic arrest

A condition in which the presenting part of the fetus becomes fixed in the maternal pelvis.

pulseless arrest

An umbrella term for asystole and pulseless electrical activity.

respiratory arrest

Cessation of spontaneous respiration.

sinus arrest

A condition in which the sinus node of the heart does not initiate impulses for heartbeat. If this condition persists, it usually requires implantation of a permanent cardiac pacemaker.
See: artificial cardiac pacemaker

sudden cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Sudden Cardiac Arrest project is expected to conclude in February 2012.
But the available data suggest that the average physician's office has a probability of sudden cardiac arrest well below 1% per year.
The risk of sudden cardiac arrest increases with age or heart disease, and men are two to three times more likely to have it than women.
The more than 40 organizations at the briefing, titled "Moving the Needle on Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survival: A National Call to Action as CPR Turns 50," specifically asked members of Congress to commit to three agenda items:
The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Coalition is an alliance of 43-organizations with the common goal of increasing survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) across the country.
Sudden cardiac arrest is sudden and immediate loss of heart function as the result of an electrical malfunction.
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PITTSBURGH, April 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To celebrate National CPR/AED Awareness Week during the first week of June, the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation today announced the launch of its third 'You Can Save a Life(TM)' video awareness contest on YouTube (http://www.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is an abrupt disruption of the heart's function, which causes a lack of blood flow to vital organs.
8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation announced today the first virtual affiliate of its National Survivor Network(TM) at the National Association of EMS Physicians annual conference.
New Direct-to-Consumer Advertising Part of Campaign Designed to Educate Those at Greatest Risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
7 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA) has appointed Chris Chiames as its Executive Director.