Cardiac Arrest Research Paper

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Heart Disease

Relationship between cardiac arrest and coronary cardiac disease

The heart is an essential organ in the human body, it keeps the individual alive. Understanding how the heart operates and functions is essential to help protect your heart from heart disease. Cardiac arrest and coronary heart disease are significant heart related illness that has a high mortality rate. It is important for individuals with pre-existing heart disease to understand the symptoms of cardiac arrest and coronary heart disease, since these are both leading causes of fatality in the United States. Understanding how the heart works, the individuals risk for heart disease, and how to prevent or delay heart disease is essential. In this paper I will address the relationship between cardiac arrest and coronary heart disease. I will also explain how the heart functions and discuss some ways of preventing cardiac arrest and coronary heart disease.

Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest is a condition where there is a sudden loss of heart function in an individual. Cardiac arrest can occur in someone with a history of heart disease or someone who have had no previous history with cardiac disease. Cardiac arrest happens to both males and females of all ages. The most popular cause of death relating to cardiac arrest is coronary disease. Cardiac arrest occurs in the human body when the cardiac vascular system ceases its functions, the brain cells that requires aerobic respiration to make ATP will stop functioning and die within four to six minutes (Martini & Nath, 2009).

A cardiac arrest is usually described as a sudden collapse for a patient who is non-responsive and has abnormal breathing. It is important to recognize the signs of cardiac arrest for survival. "Cardiac arrest requires prompt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), advance cardiac life support (ACLS) and optimal post-cardiac arrest care" (McDonough, 2009).

The cytoplasm of a damaged cardiac muscle cell differs from the cytoplasm of a normal cardiac muscle cell. When there is a decrease in oxygen, the cardiac muscle cells becomes highly dependent on anaerobic metabolism to meet the energy needs. In time the cytoplasm accumulates an abundance of enzymes associated with anaerobic energy production. The deterioration of the membrane of damaged cardiac muscle cells allows enzymes to enter the surrounding intercellular fluids. The presence of these enzymes in the circulation indicates that an infarction has occurred. There are diagnostic blood tests that can be performed to detect the existence of these enzymes in the cardiac circulation. The most common enzymes that may appear are: cardiac troponin T, cardiac troponin I, and the MB isomer of a special form of creatine phosphokinase that occurs only in cardiac muscle called CK-MB.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease is a condition where plaque builds up in the coronary arteries. Plaque buildup is caused by cholesterol deposits in the coronary arteries causing it become narrow and eventually blocked (CDC, 2010). The narrowing of the arteries over time is a condition known as atherosclerosis. The most common symptom of coronary artery disease is angina, which manifest itself with chest pain because of the lack of blood to the heart muscles (Dewey et. al., 2004). Coronary artery disease can weaken the heart muscles, leading to heart failure, where the heart cannot pump blood in a normal way. Other patients first symptom of coronary artery disease is a heart attack, patients can experience a high level of pain, burning or pressure in the chest. These symptoms get stronger with exertion, consumption of a large meal, emotion or exposure to cold air. The pain is usually described as a feeling of suffocation, or shortness of breath. The foundation of the pain is in the sternum; however the pain typically travels to the chest, shoulders, jaw, arms, and entire upper body including the jaw. When these symptoms are recognized early, the patient can get medical intervention which could save their lives. Unrecognized and untreated symptoms could be fatal. Coronary artery disease leads to heart attack. When there is blockage in the arteries, the blockage can rob the heart muscle of its blood supply causing the muscle to die. The death of this part of the heart muscle is known as a heart attack. In the United States coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease. (CDC, 2010).

Heart Attack

A myocardial infarction is commonly known as a heart attack. A heart attack is where part of the circulation becomes blocked which leads to a lack of oxygen in the cardiac muscle cells, causing them to die. The death of the cardiac muscle cells creates an infarct which is the buildup of nonfunctional cells. Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of heart attack. Blockage in the heart is a severe problem, the severity of the disease is determined based on the location of the blockage. If the blockage is located near the start of one of the coronary arteries, the disease can spread throughout the heart causing the heart to stop beating. If the blockage is a small blockage, affecting one of the smaller arterial branches the individual could survive the heart attack with the right intervention and care. This type of disease is not curable, although the individual can survive this trauma; much care is needed to assist with the complications from this medical condition. As a result of this complication other medical problems can arise; such as a scar tissue can be formed in the damaged area which could lead to irregular heartbeat, other heart vessels can become constricted causing additional circulatory problems (Martini & Nath, 2009). Individuals who have suffered a heart attack require proper post intervention care to ensure stability of the heart after heart attack.

Myocardial infarctions are usually caused by blockages in the heart, such as those in coronary artery disease (CAD). The formation of plaque in the heart is also a great risk factor, this condition is called coronary thrombosis. When a vessel is already affected and narrowed by plaque formation, a sudden spasm in the smooth muscles of the vascular wall could cause blockage in the heart. Although pain is not always associated with heart attack an individual with this type of blockage will experience pain, which will persist even when they are resting. In some types of heart attack the individual feels an enormous amount of pain in the chest and arm, while in some other types of heart attack there is no pain (silent heart attack). When there is pain present the individual takes it as a sign and gets treatment, whereas in the silent heart attack there are no obvious symptoms and this could be deadly. Roughly about 25% of heart attacks go unnoticed and untreated (Martini & Nath, 2009).

Reality of Heart Disease

Getting regular checkups and knowing your risk for heart disease is extremely important. Understanding the symptoms of a heart attack could help save your life. Approximately 25% of myocardial infarction patients die before receiving medical intervention and 65% of myocardial infarction deaths among individuals under the age of 50 years, happen within an hour of the first infarction (Martini & Nath, 2009). The fundamental goals of treatment are to limit the size of the infarction, avoid additional complications by preventing irregular contractions, improve circulation with vasodilators, provide relief from the pain, decrease cardiac workload and hopefully eliminate the cause of the circulatory blockage. Patients must be treated with anticoagulants to help prevent the formation of new thrombi and clots. If anticoagulants are given within the first six hours after a myocardial infarction it can reduce the extent of damage. Patients who have suffered a myocardial infarction should be treated with daily usage of an anticoagulant such as Coumadin or Aspirin, in some cases patients are treated with both depending on their condition. This is recommended to prevent further blockage, since research suggests about 20% of patients circulatory blockage will reappear (Martini & Nath, 2009).

Approximately 1.3 million myocardial infarctions occur in the United Sates annually and about 50 die within a year of the incident (CDC, 2010). The mortality rate for women and heart attack is higher than that of men although more men suffer from heart attacks. Health care professionals believe the mortality rate for women under 70 is higher because heart disease in women is not diagnosed as early as men and is usually not treated as aggressively as in men. In the last several years there has been a great movement about brining awareness of heart disease for women.

Anatomy of the Heart

Understanding the anatomy of the heart is essential for preventing heart attacks and protecting yourself from heart disease. The heart is the pump of the cardio vascular system; it pumps the blood that is necessary for circulation in the body. The organs in the human body needs blood to stay alive and functional, therefore survival depends on the functionality of the heart. The arteries in the heart transport the blood from the heart to the rest of the body and then…[continue]

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