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What are the causes of cardiac arrest in adults?

Deb Cordes
Deb Cordes on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
The most common cause of cardiac arrest in adults is from heart disease. When the heart is diseased it can cause problems with the electrical conduction system of the heart. The electrical conduction system of the heart is what stimulates the heart to beat and contract sending blood to the organs of the body. Sometimes the heart due to disease has problems in the electrical conduction system and causes the heart to have irregular heart beats. The heart can start to beat very fast or very chaotically and can result in a person having a cardiac arrest. During a cardiac arrest the heart does not pump blood to the organs of the body. There are two heart rhythms that are life threatening and need immediate medical attention. Ventricular tachycardia is when the heart beats very fast and Ventricular Fibrillation is when the heart beats chaotically. Both are very servious and need immediate treatment with a defibrillator. A defibrillator is a piece of an equipment that is used to send an electrical shock to the heart by using either pads placed on the chest or hand held paddles that are placed on the chest. Sending an electrical shock is an attempt to restart the normal heart rhythm.  
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is most often caused by an arrhythmia, or an irregular heart rhythm. In most cases of SCA, arrhythmias known as ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF) cause the electrical impulses to fire too rapidly.
Cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of cardiac arrest in adults. Other causes include drowning, choking, drug abuse, severe injury, brain damage and electrocution. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.