Study Finds Men And Women Suffer Different Symptoms Before A Cardiac Arrest

Man on a heart monitor

The study found different cardiac arrest symptoms. Credit: DCStudio/Freepik

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai’s Smidt Heart Institute in the US are one step closer to helping people detect sudden cardiac arrest before it occurs, thanks to a study published in the journal Lancet Digital Health.

The study revealed on Saturday, August 26, that 50 per cent of people who experience sudden cardiac arrest also experience a telltale symptom 24 hours before the loss of cardiac function.

The Smidt Heart Institute also discovered that this warning sign was different in women than in men.

For women, the most prominent symptom of impending sudden cardiac arrest was shortness of breath, while men experienced chest pain.

Similarly, smaller subgroups of both sexes experienced palpitations, seizure activity, and flu-like symptoms.

Out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of 90 per cent of the people who suffer it, which highlights the urgent need to improve its prediction and prevention.

“Taking advantage of warning symptoms to effectively hospitalise people who need to call an ambulance could lead to early intervention and the prevention of imminent death,” said the director of the Centre for Cardiac Arrest Prevention at the Smidt Heart Institute, and lead author of the study, Sumeet Chugh, who added that “the findings could lead to a new paradigm for the prevention of sudden cardiac death.”

For this study, the researchers used two other established and ongoing community studies, in California, and in Portland, Oregon.

Both studies provided Cedars-Sinai researchers with unique, community-based data to establish how best to predict sudden cardiac arrest.

In both the California and Oregon studies, Smidt Heart Institute researchers assessed the prevalence of individual symptoms and clusters of symptoms prior to sudden cardiac arrest, and then compared these results to ‘control groups’ who also sought medical attention urgently.

Ventura’s study found that 50 per cent of 823 people who experienced sudden cardiac arrest (witnessed by a bystander or medical professional) experienced at least one symptom 24 hours before.

The Oregon study found similar results.

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Written by

Jo Pugh

Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.