A common cause of a cardiac arrest is a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF).
VF happens when the electrical activity of the heart becomes so chaotic that the heart stops pumping, Instead, it quivers or ‘fibrillates’.
The main causes of cardiac arrest related to the heart are:
- a heart attack (caused by coronary heart disease)
- cardiomyopathy and some inherited heart conditions
- congenital heart disease
- heart valve disease
- acute myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle).
Some other causes of cardiac arrest include:
- a drug overdose
- a severe haemorrhage (known as a hypovolaemic shock) – losing a large amount of blood
- hypoxia – caused by a severe drop in oxygen levels
Sometimes it is not possible to diagnose the cause of the problem and these are known as “idiopathic” – unknown cause.