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Cardiac Arrest Not So Sudden, New Study Reveals

Top heart health experts from across the globe are meeting in Dallas this week at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions. They are discussing the latest in research and how to prevent heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. A study presented Tuesday finds that what we may have held to believe about sudden cardiac arrest is not true – about half of the time.

According to the study presented by lead author Eloi Marijon, M.D., half of the men in the study presented symptoms of cardiac arrest up to one month prior to suffering the event, which stopped their hearts suddenly. This is big news out of the international meeting – as more than 280,000 people suffer cardiac arrest each year, with 80 percent of those cases occurring outside the hospital. As a result, survival rates are very low – less than 10 percent, according to the American Heart Association. If more people are aware of symptoms earlier, more lives could be saved.

Of the 53 percent of participants who experienced symptoms prior to cardiac arrest, 56 percent had chest pain, 13 percent experienced shortness of breath and 4 percent experienced dizziness. Researchers say the take-away for patients is to be aware of these symptoms and not to hesitate to seek medical attention. Participants noted these symptoms four weeks to one hour prior to cardiac arrest.