How A Cardiac Arrest Happens in Children and Adults
Sudden cardiac arrest remains on the list causes of death that disregards age. Although it is very rare, cardiac arrest on children is still occurring. This is why it is important that everyone know what happens in the heart during a cardiac arrest.
Cardiac Arrest Explained
The heart is an undeniably vital organ of the body. It is responsible for pumping blood all throughout the body. Since the beginning, the heart pumps blood and it will continue to do so until a person is clinically dead. What can be the cause of it prematurely failing?
What allows the heart to beat in the first place are the pacemaker cells in the upper chamber, also known as the atrium, of the heart. These pacemakers give out just the right amount of jolts in the heart to produce a regular beat. This very process keeps the heart beating and can be disrupted in many ways. A trauma or a sudden disturbance to this process can prevent the pacemakers to do its job. These cells that give out sparks will be immediately replaced by other cells in a hasty attempt to make the heart resume its beating. What happens next is a chaotic phenomenon of multiple cells jolting the heart in all places—both appropriate and not—that can cause erratic beating. This is the onset of a cardiac arrest. Soon, the heart muscle will not be able to provide the vital organs, including itself, with oxygenated blood that they need to function. If this is prolonged, it can either cause serious vital organ damage and even death.
Cardiac Arrest on Children
It is saddening to know that cardiac arrest knows no age when it strikes. Cardiac arrest happens in kids just as well, but with different causes. Most of the time, those who are affected have inherited heart conditions that increases the chances of a sudden cardiac arrest.
Children who are born with thick ventricle walls can experience chest pains during exercise. Due to the thicker walls, the pumping chamber of the heart is allowed lesser space. In turn, to properly supply the body with the much-needed blood, the heart has to work extra hard. The heart that works double pace during regular activities has to step up its plate during exercise. Decrease in blood flow can cause irritation to the heart muscle and start a cardiac arrest.
Another hereditary heart condition on children is the misplaced coronary arteries. What is supposed to lie on the surface of the heart, is situated right into the muscle of the heart. In this condition, these arteries can be blocked when the heart muscle squeezes extra hard due to a physically-demanding activity such as exercise.
It is a matter of importance therefore that children undergo all the necessary tests to identify possible hereditary conditions. Also, pre-screening for athletic activities are highly encouraged to prevent sudden cardiac arrest from occurring.
Since there is still no way of knowing when a cardiac arrest can happen, it is vital that knowledge of CPR and AED is acquired by the general public. It is never too late to know how to administer these first aid practices.