Explaining Cardiac Arrest: Former Delhi CM Dikshit Dies at 81

Senior Congress leader and former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit passed away in Delhi on Saturday, 20 July at the age of 81.

According to a statement by Fortis Hospital, Dikshit was brought in on 20 July in the morning in “ a critical condition with cardiac arrest.”

"“A multi-disciplinary team of doctors, led by Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, carried out the advanced resuscitative measures. Her condition stabilised temporarily. However, she had another cardiac arrest and despite all the resuscitative efforts, passed away at 3:55pm on 20th of July 2019.”" - Fortis Hospital 

In an earlier article published on 26 Septermber 2018, FIT spoke to Dr Seth to explain a cardiac arrest and how it differs from a heart attack.

Also Read: Cardiac Arrest Versus Heart Attack. How Do They Differ?

"“When somebody dies due to a sudden cardiac arrest, it could be due to a heart attack or certain rhythm disturbances of the heart. Eight out of 10 times, a sudden heart attack is the reason for a cardiac arrest.”" - Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman, Fortis Escorts Heart InstituteIndians Predisposed to Coronary Artery Disease

The term cardiac arrest is used very vaguely. On rare occasions, a cardiac arrest can also happen because of a sudden bleed in the brain.

Dr Seth says the first question that arises in a situation like this is whether the person underwent the recommended annual cardiac check-ups. Such heart blockages only get picked up on the sophisticated cardiac tests advised to be had every year.

Indians are predisposed to coronary artery disease. Even when we are very particular about our exercise and well-being, we don’t know what is happening in the heart.

It’s important to remember, a cardiac arrest can happen even without a history of cardiac issues. Blockage of arteries starts giving symptoms only when it is at 80-90 percent. 25 percent of people even after having significant and severe blockages do not experience any discomfort.

Also Read: 16-Yr-Old Dies While Playing PUBG. Could it Be Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac Arrest is Not Always the Same as a Heart Attack

While heart attack is caused by blockages in coronary arteries that prevent blood flow to the heart, according to Mayo Clinic, sudden cardiac arrest is the sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. It could be a result of an electrical disturbance in your heart that disrupts its pumping action, stopping blood flow to the rest of your body.

In this case, your arteries may have no blockages at all. Its symptoms include:

  • No pulse
  • Sudden collapse
  • Lack of breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

Doctors say there are often other symptoms that precede it that are often ignored. These include fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness, palpitations and vomiting.

But they also say that cardiac arrest may happen with no warning at all. In almost half of all such deaths, there is no known reason at all.

Also Read: New AI Tool to Detect Cardiac Arrest During Sleep

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