Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Dr. Alrich L. Gray // Central Montana Heart & Vascular Institute

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when your heart abruptly stops all electrical and pumping activity, completely stopping the flow of blood around your body. Sudden cardiac arrest is extremely serious and requires immediate intervention for survival. Symptoms include:

  • Sudden collapse
  • No pulse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • No breathing

Treatment of sudden cardiac arrest requires restarting the heart, which is most often done through defibrillation. During defibrillation, an electric shock is delivered to your heart through paddles. After your heart has restarted, you may require a long term intervention to address the cause of your sudden cardiac arrest and prevent it from occurring again. If the cause of your arrest is a problem with your heart’s electrical signalling, your doctor may perform a catheter ablation, during which he will use radiofrequency or cryo energy to modify the tissues in your heart that generate electrical abnormalities. Another treatment may be inserting an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, which will monitor your heart’s rhythm and will send an impulse to your heart if it detects an abnormal or dangerous rhythm. If the cause of your cardiac arrest is a blocked artery, your doctor may perform an angioplasty to clear the blockage. In addition to procedures, your doctor may prescribe medications that will help your heart’s chambers stay at a healthy rhythm. Your treatment will depend on the cause of your cardiac arrest.