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Causes of a cardiac arrest

A cardiac arrest happens when the heart stops pumping blood around the body. Someone suffering from a cardiac arrest will collapse, stop breathing and will very quickly turn grey.

If you recognise these symptoms in someone call 999 for an ambulance immediately, even before you start to help the patient yourself.

There are three reasons why someone would suffer a cardiac arrest:

  • 1. Heart attack
    • A cardiac arrest and a heart attack are not the same.
    • A heart attack happens when the flow of blood to the heart is restricted. The reduced amount of blood reaching the heart means it starts to die.
    • In the advanced stages of a heart attack, the patient may have a cardiac arrest when the heart stops pumping blood around the body.
  • 2. Choking
    • If someone gets an object stuck in their throat they will begin to choke. Their breathing will be interrupted and they will not be able to get enough oxygen into their lungs.
    • If the blockage in their throat is not treated quickly, they will suffer a cardiac arrest.
  • 3. Trauma
    • Someone who has been seriously wounded or injured in an accident may suffer a cardiac arrest because of the severity of the trauma