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Following Damar Hamlin and Lisa Marie Presley, how do you prevent cardiac arrest?

Heart Rate Display Monitor Showing Cardiac And Coronary Health
Posted at 10:03 PM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 00:07:40-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin went into cardic arrest on the field in the first week of January. A week later, Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of famed musician Elvis Presley, died after going into full cardiac arrest. She was 54 years old.

“It can truly happen to anybody,” said vice president of cardiology at Christus Spohn Christina Perry said.

A common misconception is that a heart attack and cardiac arrest are the same thing. They aren’t, there's a difference.

Perry said a heart attack is a blockage in the arteries to the heart. It happens to a certain area of the heart and causes blood flow to stop moving towards the heart. Cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction to the entire heart. The issue comes from any abnormal rhythm of the heart. A heart attack could lead to cardiac arrest.

“So, a heart attack is when you’ll see people, they’ll say they have a crushing chest pain or the arm pain, jaw pain but they’re still conscious and their heart is still beating, it’s just having difficulty," Perry said. "With cardiac arrest they truly have no heartbeat.”

For cardiac arrest, those people have to be treated quickly, which, in the case of Hamlin, without the immediate care, he may have been in worse shape. If around someone who goes into cardiac arrest, Perry said to first check for a pulse and breathing. If they don't have one or are barely breathing you should try and wake them.

“You want someone to call 911 and you want to do CPR if you know how," she said. "Even if it’s only hands only CPR, that still can make a wonderful difference in someone’s life. Get the AED, if one's available to you, which is an Automatic External Defibrillator. Follow the instructions that the machine gives you."

Perry said cardiac arrest could happen to anyone, but those with heart disease are more susceptible. According to the American Heart Association one in three Americans has a heart disease.

“Typically a cardiac arrest, we cannot predict,” she said.

Perry added that it's possible to decrease your risk. Not smoking and having an exercise routine can help.

“Once you’re aware that you have cardiac disease, you’re going to be placed on a prescription regimen typically for high cholesterol or high blood pressure, diabetes," Perry said. "So, making sure you keep up with your medications, making sure you visit with your physician regularly.”

The American Heart Association reports their are more than 356,000 cardiac arrests each year in the U.S.

If you have any questions about your health you should consult with your primary physician.

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