Heart attacks are responsible for most cases of cardiac arrest. Know the warning signs—and what to if you witness a cardiac arrest.
Recently, a Harvard Heart Letter reader sent us an email asking about sudden cardiac arrest. This much-feared event occurs when the heart abruptly and unexpectedly stops beating. Each year, nearly 380,000 people in the United States experience cardiac arrest, and only about 10% survive.
"What are the causes and contributing factors? Are there early symptoms before the arrest occurs? And can it occur in a seemingly healthy middle-aged person?" she asked. Sudden cardiac arrest remains challenging to both predict and prevent. But there are definitely ways to lower your risk — and things that everyone should know (see "Recognize and react to sudden cardiac arrest").
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.