Cardiac arrest is a serious emergency medical situation that can lead to death within minutes. At this point, the heart is stopped, unable to pump blood to the body. During the arrest, blood circulation is completely interrupted, and consequently, the supply of oxygen is also interrupted. This process affects all organs, but the brain is the first to be damaged, causing the patient to lose consciousness and stop breathing. More than five minutes of cardiac arrest can cause irreversible brain damage.
Unfortunately, cardiac arrest victims treated by cardiologist often do not have any symptoms that precede the condition. On the other hand, some may have:
- Severe pain in the head, chest, abdomen, and back
- Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
- Difficulty speaking
- Tingling sensation in the left arm
- Stronger palpitations
- Feeling faint
People with heart problems, chronic lung diseases, smokers, diabetics, obesity, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, unhealthy lifestyle habits, and inadequate diet are more likely to suffer a cardiac arrest. It is possible to minimize the chances of such an event with the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits and medical monitoring for chronic diseases. Following the guidelines of experts is essential to ensure the quality of life.
Cardiopulmonary arrest: how does it occur?
Cardiorespiratory arrest (CRA) is the unexpected and abrupt interruption of cardiac work and breathing, consequent consciousness loss. In most of these cases, the event does not happen by chance; it is the result of the evolution of underlying diseases. The underlying diseases are chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, HIV, diabetes, cancer, asthma, obesity, and many others that affect the entire body, triggering several aggravating factors.
In many cases, cardiorespiratory arrests occur in Intensive Care Units (ICUs). This article will address the issue and the reasons that lead to it happening in medical facilities.
What Is A Cardiopulmonary Arrest?
To be characterized as cardiac or cardiorespiratory arrest, the event must present the following factors:
- sudden stop of the heartbeat
- sudden stop of breathing
- absence of pulse
- unconsciousness; and
- cyanosis (blue discoloration of the mucous membranes and skin)
During PCR, the tissues stop receiving oxygen and nutrients, disqualifying their functioning. The condition needs to be quickly reversed. Otherwise, some damage can be irreversible, especially in the brain. It is interesting to point out that cardiorespiratory arrest is not a random phenomenon, and, in most cases, it is not sudden. With the progression of the underlying diseases, circulation and respiratory functions weaken. In this way, the body is highly vulnerable in cases of infections. The immediate diagnosis of cardiorespiratory arrest is essential for the help of the sick.
Why Cardiopulmonary Arrest Occurs In The ICU
A cardiorespiratory arrest alone is not a factor in assessing the quality of medical care in urgent and emergency settings but an indicator of the severity of the individual’s condition. On the other hand, most of the time, the adequate treatment of CPA in the ICU depends on the available resources – human and technological (such as adequate infrastructure) – and the management of these resources.
Thus, some factors are essential for the success of the rescue:
- the time and speed with which the service is conducted
- technical skill and adequate supervision of events
Teamwork and the professional experience of the doctors and nurses involved are also factors to consider in this scenario. It so happens that there is a significant lack of preparation for young professionals, allied to the lack of adequate supervision.