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Cardiac Arrest


Updated October 06, 2012

Definition: Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart is unable to maintain blood flow to the carotid artery sufficient to detect a pulse. The three most common conditions that lead to cardiac arrest are ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and asystole. Victims of cardiac arrest do not have enough circulation to maintain blood flow to the brain. Irreversible brain damage and death will usually occur within four minutes of the onset of cardiac arrest.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation are the only treatments for cardiac arrest.

Pronunciation: car-dee-ack ah-rest
Also Known As: Sudden cardiac arrest, code blue, full code, cardiorespiratory arrest, cardiopulmonary arrest

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