New Delhi, August 28
People experienced gender-specific warning symptoms before an imminent sudden cardiac arrest, new research published in the journal The Lancet Digital Health found.
In women, shortness of breath was the most prominent symptom of a sudden cardiac arrest about to occur, whereas in men, it was chest pain, the study led by the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, California, US, found. However, smaller subgroups of both genders were found to have palpitations, seizure-like activity and flu-like symptoms.
Further, 50 percent of those having a sudden cardiac arrest felt at least one telling symptom such as chest pain, breathlessness, light-headedness or irregular heartbeat 24 hours prior to loss of heart function, the researchers found.
Harnessing warning symptoms to perform effective triage for those in dire need of emergency health care services could lead to early intervention and prevention of imminent death, the study said.
“Our findings could lead to a new paradigm for prevention of sudden cardiac death,” said Sumeet Chugh, from Smidt Heart and senior and corresponding author on the study.
Out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest has been found to claim the lives of 90 percent of those experiencing it, thus marking an urgent need to better predict and prevent the condition, the study said.
For this study, researchers took data from two US community-based studies, both developed by Chugh — California-based Prediction of Sudden Death in Multi-Ethnic Communities (PRESTO) study and Oregon-based Sudden Unexpected Death Study (SUDS).
Fifty per cent of the 823 people, or 411 people, who had a sudden cardiac arrest witnessed by a bystander or emergency health care professional experienced at least one tell-tale symptom 24 hours previously, the PRESTO study showed. It was started eight years ago and a total of 1672 individuals with out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest of probable cardiac cause had been included.
The SUDS study, initiated 22 years ago, too, showed similar results, the researchers said.