A study published in the journal The Lancet Digital Health reveals that 50% of people who have suffered a sudden cardiac arrest showed warning signs without knowing it. Knowing them would improve prevention and the speed of treatment.
Researchers at the Smidt Heart Institute based at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles have just made a discovery that could help detect sudden cardiac arrest before it happens. Their work indicates that 50% of people who have suffered a cardiac arrest showed warning symptoms 24 hours before their heart stopped beating.
Different symptoms depending on gender
These symptoms would not be the same in men and women.
- In women, the most common warning symptom of cardiac arrest is shortness of breath
- In men, it is chest pain and heavy sweating.
- Other symptoms identified by the researchers were palpitations, restlessness or seizures, and flu-like symptoms.
“Educating healthcare professionals about the warning symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest could help redirect the patients concerned to urgent medical care, which would help prevent imminent death”, said Harpriya Chugh, co-author of the study. “Our work could lead to the development of a new protocol to prevent sudden death from cardiac arrest”, she added.
Look for additional clues to improve prediction performance
For the purposes of the study, Chugh and his team relied on two studies on the prediction of sudden death in adults. The medical data provided by the cohorts of these two studies (patients who received emergency medical care) served as a database to identify the warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest. “This is the first community-based study to link warning symptoms – or a set of symptoms – to impending death from cardiac arrest.”said Eduardo Marban, director of the Smidt Heart Institute.
“Any chest pain or abnormal shortness of breath should prompt an emergency consultation or even call 15“confirms Dr Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor and medical director of TipsForWomens. “In the vast majority of cases, it is nothing but it is better not to underestimate and self-diagnose! A myocardial infarction can be treated as soon as possible before cardiac arrest. The weak link currently is the alert with patients who take too long to call for help.
For Chugh and his team, the next step will be to look for additional clues to predict sudden cardiac arrest, such as the identification of clinical risk profiles and specific biological markers.