What exactly is cardiac arrest? Elizabeth Tracey reports


You may have heard the terms ‘cardiac arrest’ and ‘heart attack’ used interchangeably, but they are actually quite different. Hugh Calkins, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Calkins: Cardiac arrest results from ventricular fibrillation, it’s not a heart attack it’s an arrhythmia of the lower chamber of the heart where the lower chamber of the heart suddenly starts beating 600-800 beats a minute. It’s so fast that blood can’t be pumped effectively to the body. No blood flow to the body, you pass out, there’s no blood flow. If you don’t intervene then you die from that condition. Now sudden cardiac death is remarkably common, it happens 300,000 times each year in the United States.    :30

Calkins says attention is often drawn to cardiac arrest because a sports injury takes place and the player collapses suddenly, an unlikely event in someone who plays professional or elite sports. He says bystanders must work quickly to restore blood flow and save the player’s life. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.