Healthy words to live by… What is sudden cardiac arrest?

With Timothy Damron, MD, FACC - Cardiologist, Pleasant Valley Hospital



Although many people use the terms cardiac arrest and heart attack interchangeably, they aren’t actually the same. According to the American Heart Association, a heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. A heart attack is a “circulation” problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem.

Signs and symptoms

While it is commonly believed that sudden cardiac arrest has no symptoms, there are warning signs that often go ignored. Warning signs and symptoms can appear up to two weeks before cardiac arrest takes place. Some people may experience the following:

· Racing heartbeat

· Dizziness

· Light-headedness

· Chest pain

· Shortness of breath

· Nausea or vomiting

What to do if someone experiences sudden cardiac arrest

In the United States, sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death, claiming more than 475,000 lives in a given year. Because sudden cardiac arrest can become fatal within minutes, you must know what to do if someone around you goes into cardiac arrest.

It is critical that you dial 911 immediately if you suspect that someone is going into cardiac arrest. Until emergency medical services arrive, it is important that you perform CPR. Follow these steps outlined by the American Red Cross,

· Place your hands, one on top of the other, in the middle of the chest and administer compressions at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute. You’ll be doing 1 to 2 compressions every second.

· With the head tilted back and the chin lifted, pinch the nose and place your mouth over the person’s mouth to deliver two rescue breaths.

· Return to delivering compressions and repeat until visible signs of life such as breathing or until an EMT or trained medical responder arrives on the scene.

Cardiovascular care at Pleasant Valley Hospital

When it comes to supporting your cardiovascular health, it is important to find a specialist you can depend on. Cardiologist Timothy Damron, MD, FACC at Pleasant Valley Hospital has a proven quality and safety record of accomplishment in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of heart disease.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to evaluate your cardiovascular risk and discuss measures appropriate for you, please call 304-675-1484.

Have peace of mind knowing you are taking steps towards a healthier you in 2021 in an environment where your safety is our priority.

This piece provided by PVH.


With Timothy Damron, MD, FACC

Cardiologist, Pleasant Valley Hospital