SUDDEN CARDIAC DEATH SOLICITORS - MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE COMPENSATION
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Sudden cardiac death is also called sudden cardiac arrest. It causes death immediately due to electrical dysfunction of the heart. The major cause is heart attack but it can occur in a variety of patients with heart abnormalities. The person may not even have a known heart disease present. The death is unexpected and can occur within a few seconds after symptoms begin. About 300,000 patients suffer from out of hospital cardiac arrests each year in the US.
Sudden cardiac death is a major problem in the US that has received a bit less publicity than a regular heart attack. There are several steps to consider when dealing with sudden cardiac death that include activating the 911 system as soon as a patient suffers from sudden cardiac death. CPR needs to be started immediately after witnessing a sudden cardiac death. Early defibrillation is crucial to the survival of sudden cardiac death and there should be advanced cardiac care as early as possible.
The major cause of sudden cardiac arrest is atherosclerosis, which involves a buildup of fat, cholesterol and calcium within the coronary arteries of the heart. A blockage of one of the arteries can affect the electrical activity of the heart and can put the heart into an unstable rhythm. The heart can go into ventricular fibrillation and the person can drop suddenly. It can also cause bradycardia or slowing of the heart, which can cause dizziness and unconsciousness.
Ninety percent of all patients with sudden cardiac death have two or more major arteries involved in atherosclerosis. Two thirds have had a prior heart attack, whether they knew it or not. A number of patients with sudden cardiac death have had drug abuse as an underlying factor. Most of the drugs involved are stimulants like amphetamines or cocaine-like drugs.
Sudden cardiac arrest can be diagnosed by finding a person on the ground or unconscious in a chair. It has a better outcome if it is witnessed because then immediate 911 activities can be started and CPR can be begun as soon as possible. Defibrillation as soon as possible is crucial and this is why defibrillators for public use are available at sporting venues, airports, malls and other places where people congregate. Brain death and permanent heart death occurs within four to six minutes after the event so that the witnesses need to begin CPR as quickly as possible. Arrival of EMS is vital with a defibrillator handy to defibrillate the patient will help improve the survival.
The survival rate of sudden cardiac death is still poor. About 80 percent of sudden cardiac deaths occur at a patient's home and only about 60 percent are actually witnessed. About 95 percent of all sudden cardiac death patients actually survive until they reach the hospital and more die after that. Attempts at CPR rarely work after ten minutes unless defibrillation is attempted by EMS. CPR can double or triple a person's chance of survival and the chances of survival drop by 7 to 8 percent with every minute that passes without CPR and subsequent defibrillation. If ten minutes have passed since the event, the chances that CPR will work are very slim. An unconscious person should have 911 called as soon as possible, without first checking for a pulse or for respirations. Then those things should be assessed with the help of the 911 operator.
What if you survive a sudden cardiac death? More treatment is required, especially if the sudden cardiac death was due to atherosclerosis. The heart surgeon needs to open the blocked arteries of the heart with the use of angiography and stent placement or with open heart surgery. Medications need to be given to limit the chances of ventricular fibrillation in the future. The doctors need to consider a pacemaker defibrillator which is an internal device that shocks the heart whenever a sudden cardiac death should happen in the future. Doctors do electrophysiological testing to see how sensitive the heart is to ventricular fibrillation. In severe cases of sudden cardiac death, the heart is too damaged and a heart transplant is necessary.
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Medical Negligence Solicitors
Our personal injury solicitors operate a specialist medical negligence compensation service. Our Sudden Cardiac Death solicitors deal with claims using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don�t win then you don�t pay them their professional costs. If you would like legal advice at no cost with no further obligation just complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices or use the helpline and a Sudden Cardiac Death solicitor will review your medical negligence compensation claim and phone you immediately.
HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here