To­day’s hec­tic life­style too stren­u­ous for too many hearts

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Alert -

WEEK­DAY morn­ings are no longer the most com­mon time for car­diac ar­rest, as an ever stress­ful world means hearts are stop­ping sud­denly at all times of the day, new re­search shows. “While there are likely sev­eral rea­sons to ex­plain why more car­diac ar­rests hap­pen out­side of pre­vi­ously iden­ti­fied peak times, stress is likely a ma­jor fac­tor,” said lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor Dr Sumeet Chugh. He is as­so­ciate direc­tor of the Smidt Heart In­sti­tute at Cedars-Si­nai Med­i­cal Cen­tre in Los An­ge­les.

“We now live in a fast-paced, ‘al­ways-on’ era that causes in­creased psy­cho-so­cial stress and, pos­si­bly, an in­crease in the like­li­hood of sud­den car­diac ar­rest,” Chugh said in a Cedars-Si­nai news re­lease. For the study, Chugh’s team an­a­lysed data on car­diac ar­rests in Ore­gon be­tween 2004 and 2014. Of the 1,535 peo­ple who died from sud­den car­diac ar­rest, only 14 per cent died be­tween the hours of 6am and 10 am, and there was no ev­i­dence that more car­diac ar­rests oc­curred on Mon­days.

Along with stress, other fac­tors that may ex­plain the find­ings in­clude changes in how high-risk pa­tients are be­ing treated, and prob­lems with how past stud­ies have mea­sured time of death caused by car­diac ar­rest, such as us­ing time of death on a death cer­tifi­cate rather than the ac­tual time of death due to car­diac ar­rest, the re­searchers added.

Car­diac ar­rest is dif­fer­ent than a heart at­tack, which is typ­i­cally caused by re­duced blood flow to the heart due to clogged ar­ter­ies. Car­diac ar­rest is caused by de­fec­tive elec­tri­cal ac­tiv­ity of the heart. Pa­tients may have lit­tle or no warn­ing, and usu­ally ex­pe­ri­ence sud­den death. Each year in the United States, there are about 300,000 deaths from sud­den car­diac ar­rest.

“Be­cause sud­den car­diac ar­rest is usu­ally fa­tal, we have to pre­vent it be­fore it strikes,” Chugh said. “This is just an­other piece to the puz­zle. Our next steps are to con­clu­sively de­ter­mine the un­der­ly­ing rea­sons be­hind this shift, then iden­tify pub­lic health im­pli­ca­tions as a re­sult.” The study was pub­lished in the jour­nal Heart Rhythm.

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