What are the different reasons why a heart could stop?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,750
    Dr. Robert O’Connor, professor & chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia Health System, discusses the different reasons why a heart could stop.

    Host: What are the different reasons why a heart could stop?

    Robert O'Connor: By finding way the most common reason is atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, which is possibly a normal product of aging and a normal result of aging, but when it occurs prematurely, it causes blockage of the artery which can then result in a clot formation which obstructs all flow to the heart muscle. Once that happens, the heart muscle becomes very prone to electrical irregularities which may cause cardiac arrest. There are some other factors that you can think of as well. Drowning is one such thing that can lead to cardiac arrest. Another one would be just struck by lightening, a rare event. Hopefully, that is not very common and there are some odd events that you hear about in the news when athletes suddenly get cardiac arrest due to a congenital rhythm disturbance or if the adolescents striking the chest say in the baseball game, they can go into cardiac arrest. So for those reasons, we recommend that everyone know how to perform CPR, just in case you are at an event such as that, you can really save a life.

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