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Sridevis untimely death brings to forefront sudden cardiac death in women

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Dr KK Aggarwal    26 February 2018

This risk can be ascribed to CHD risk factors associated with phobic anxiety such as diabetes, hypertension and high serum cholesterol.

Sudden cardiac arrest may not be as sudden as is usually thought. About 50% of victims of sudden cardiac arrest have some tell-tale warning signs that their heart is in danger of stopping in the month preceding their attack, which include any combination of chest pain and pressure, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and flu-like sensations (such as nausea, back pain and/or abdominal pain). While less than 20% of those who experience symptoms actually reach out for potentially lifesaving emergency medical assistance.

Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. A cardiac arrest occurs when electrical activity of the heart is disturbed and the heart stops working, while a heart attack is the result of arterial blockage that cuts off blood flow to the heart. Heart attacks can increase the risk of cardiac arrest; however, heart attacks do not lead to sudden cardiac arrest but when sudden cardiac arrest occurs, heart attack is the most common cause.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and sudden cardiac death (SCD) are same. If an intervention such as CPR or defibrillation, cardioversion restores circulation, it is called sudden cardiac arrest. But if the patient dies, it is referred to as SCD.

Ventricular tachycardia (VT)/ventricular fibrillation (VF) account for most such episodes, while bradycardia or asystole (no heart beat) make up the remaining.

CPR is a life-saving procedure in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest. 

Screening for heart disease

A heart attack in women presents differently compared to men. Women are less likely than men to have typical features of a heart attack. Women have more chances to present with angina than heart attack but when they present with heart attack it is more fatal. Many cases of heart attack in women go unrecognized, particularly at younger ages or in patients with diabetes.

Six minutes walk test: You do not have significant blockages, if you can walk more than 500 m in six minutes or if you can walk 2 km or climb two flight of stairs.

Never ignore unexplained weakness, tiredness, first onset chest burning or first onset breathlessness after the age of 40.

If any member of your family has had heart disease before the age of 55 years (male) or before 65 years of age (female), this is a strong positive family history.

If the SCD of Sridevi is found to be associated with heart blockages, this would be a strong family history for her family for future generations.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri AwardeeVice President CMAAOGroup Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA

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