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Sudden Cardiac Arrest: How Fast Does It Cause Unconsciousness?

How fast does sudden cardiac arrest cause unconsciousness? In just seconds.

Here’s a video of Salamanca soccer player Miguel Garcia’s episode. At the start of the video, Mr. Garcia can be seen in the background of the image kneeling behind the players in the foreground. Watch carefully as he stands after tying his shoes.

Although it is difficult to see, it appears an automatic external defibrillator arrives in about two minutes, though given the fact his shirt is still on as he’s taken from the field, we note the device is on his gurney as he’s hurried to a nearby ambulance. Reportedly, he survived this sudden cardiac arrest event:

This was NOT a heart attack, but rather a loss of cardiac function caused by a rapid, often disorganized heart rhythm disorder. Compare the relatively long time to resuscitation using an external automatic defibrillator verses the very rapid response afforded to Belgian soccer player Anthony Van Loo, whose internal defibrillator was already installed before he played as primary prevention of sudden death from right ventricular dysplasia.

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

h/t: Electrophysiology Fellow blog

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

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One Response to “Sudden Cardiac Arrest: How Fast Does It Cause Unconsciousness?”

  1. Amazing football film of a sudden cardiac arrest in action. It certainly is fast.

    Thanks also for clarifying that a cardiac arrest is NOT a heart attack. For many of us, when a true heart attack strikes, we are too quick to dismiss symptoms entirely.

    When I was misdiagnosed in mid-heart attack with acid reflux (despite presenting with textbook symptoms like crushing chest pain, nausea, sweating, and pain radiating down my left arm) I completely believed the E.R. doc who had misdiagnosed me. After all, I could still walk, I could talk, I was conscious, I hadn’t keeled over on the floor like those “Hollywood heart attack” patients do.

    What I learned much later (my second trip to the E.R. resulted in a revised Dx of “significant heart disease” and an immediate trip from the E.R. to the O.R) was that most heart attacks – particularly for women – have symptoms that can be vague at best. Almost 40% of people have NO chest pains at all during their heart attacks. Many of us wouldn’t even describe our chest symptoms as being “painful”. Instead, these are often described as fullness, heaviness, burning, pressure – NOT as pain.

    The message in this soccer game is the same whether it’s cardiac arrest or heart attack: get help IMMEDIATELY.

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