Cardiac/Heart Arrest

Definition of Cardiac Arrest

An abrupt loss of cardiac pump function which may be reversible by a prompt intervention, but will lead to death in its absence.

Cardiac arrest may result from 1 of 4 mechanisms-
1)Ventricular fibrillation.
2)Pulseless ventricular tachycardia.
3)Ventricular asystole.
4)Pulseless electrical activity.


Causes of Cardiac Arrest

  • Ventricular asystole
    -Localized failure of conducting tissue.
    -Massive myocardial infarction.
  • Pulseless electrical activity
    -Cardiac rupture.
    -Massive pulmonary embolism.

Management of Cardiac Arrest

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
Provides artificial ventilation & perfusion to vital organs i.e. heart & brain until spontaneous cardiopulmonary function is restored.
It encompasses both basic life support & advanced life support.

1)Basic life support (BLS)

Indicates maneuvers which, without special equipment either prevent circulatory & respiratory arrest or externally support circulation & ventilation of victim in arrest:-
 i) Airway
ii) Breathing
iii) Circulation
iv) Defibrillation.

2)Advanced life support (ACLS)

Consists of basic life support & use of special equipment & drugs for establishing & maintaining effective ventilation & circulation :-
i) Advanced airway.
ii) Advanced breathing.
iii) Advanced circulation.