When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, your brain is the first part of your body to suffer because, unlike other organs, it doesn't have a reserve of oxygen-rich blood. It's completely dependent on an uninterrupted supply of blood. Reduced blood flow to your brain causes unconsciousness.
If your heart rhythm doesn't rapidly return to its normal rhythm, brain damage occurs and death results. If sudden cardiac arrest lasts more than 10 minutes, survival is rare. Survivors of cardiac arrest may show signs of brain damage.
Nov. 15, 2012
- Siscovick DS, et al. Overview of sudden cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 22, 2012.
- What is sudden cardiac arrest? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/scda/. Accessed Aug. 22, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Aug. 22, 2012.
- About cardiac arrest. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/CardiacArrest/About-Cardiac-Arrest_UCM_307905_Article.jsp. Accessed Aug. 22, 2012.
- Post-cardiac arrest syndrome care. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/CardiacArrest/Post-Cardiac-Arrest-Syndrome-Care_UCM_307981_Article.jsp. Accessed Aug. 22, 2012.
- Ejection fraction and heart failure measurement. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartFailure/SymptomsDiagnosisofHeartFailure/Ejection-Fraction-Heart-Failure-Measurement_UCM_306339_Article.jsp. Accessed Aug. 22, 2012.
- Field JM, et al. Part 1: Executive summary — 2010 American Heart Association guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care. Circulation. 2010;122(suppl):S640.