9 Things You Should Know About Cardiac Arrest


Cardiac arrest means an absence of cardiac activity — in essence, a person’s heart stops beating. While certain health conditions and other factors increase the risk of cardiac arrest, it can happen to anyone.

When someone has cardiac arrest, immediate medical attention — starting with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — can be the difference between life and death. Here’s what you should know about cardiac arrest, including what to do if someone near you appears to be experiencing it.

1. Cardiac Arrest Is Highly Fatal

About 90 percent of people who have cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting don’t survive it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since about 350,000 people have cardiac arrest in non-hospital locations each year, that translates to hundreds of thousands of people dying from the condition in the United States annually.

“It’s thought that out of deaths in the United States, 13 to 15 percent are due to cardiac arrest,” says Eugene DePasquale, MD, a cardiologist at Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. That makes cardiac arrest one of the leading causes of death in the country.


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