Causes of Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of cardiac function when the heart abruptly stops beating. It is important to note that cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack (although many cases of a heart attack lead to sudden cardiac arrest).

When a person’s heart stops beating, that person will lose consciousness and stop normal breathing.  Their pulse and blood pressure will be absent.  Unless resuscitative efforts are begun immediately, cardiac arrest will lead to death within a few minutes.

Ventricular fibrillation is the most common cause of cardiac arrest.  Ventricular fibrillation occurs when the normal, regular electrical activation of heart muscle contraction is replaced by chaotic electoral activity that causes the heart to stop beating and pumping blood to the brain and other parts of the body. Permanent brain damage and death can occur unless the flow of blood to the brain is restored within five minutes. Heart attacks are the most common cause of ventricular fibrillation. Other causes include choking, trauma, electrocution, and drowning.

Sudden cardiac arrest is commonly due to underlying heart issues such as family history of heart problems, high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, smoking, drinking and the use of illegal drugs.

If someone is exhibiting symptoms of cardiac arrest, you only have a few minutes to save their life.  Call 911, begin CPR, and use an AED.  The 911 operator can assist you with how to administer CPR.  CPR will keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and heart but the only way to restore a regular heart rhythm during cardiac arrest is to use an AED. AEDs, when used during CPR, can nearly double the odds of survival.  AEDs are made to be simple.  The AED will use a computer-generated voice or visual command to walk you through how to use.

Visit our website at or call us at 1-800-441-8378 with your questions about which AED is right for your needs.