Blog | Thursday, November 21, 2013

QD: News Every Day--'Sudden' cardiac arrests often preceded by noticeable warning signs beforehand

Potential warning signs of a sudden cardiac arrest can occur up to a month ahead of time in half of men, a study found.

Among 567 middle-age men in Portland, Ore. who had out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, 53% had symptoms prior to the cardiac arrest. Of those with symptoms, 56% had chest pain, 13% had shortness of breath and 4% had dizziness, fainting or palpitations.

Almost 80% of the symptoms occurred between 4 weeks and 1 hour before the sudden cardiac arrest, he said.

The research was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013 as an abstract.

The new research is part of the 11-year-old Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, which involves 1 million people in the Portland metro area. Researchers gathered information about the symptoms and health history of men 35 to 65 years old who had out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in 2002-12.

Most men had coronary artery disease, but only about half had been tested for it before their cardiac arrest.

About 360,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are reported each year in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association, and only 9.5% survive.