Time and again, the sudden cardiac arrest of a young and fit person has left people scrambling for answers. In June this year, the heart of 29-year-old Danish footballer Christian Eriksen suddenly stopped beating and was resuscitated. But Saurashtra batter Avi Barot, a former India Under-19 captain and a member of the Ranji Trophy-winning team in the 2019-20 season, wasn’t as lucky as he died after suffering a “severe” cardiac arrest at a shockingly young age of 29, the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) said.
Extremely shocked and saddened to learn of the untimely demise of Avi Barot. A bright young cricketer, who represented India U19, Saurashtra and Haryana has left us all too early. Condolences to his family and friends in this hour of grief. 🙏🏽
— Jay Shah (@JayShah) October 16, 2021
Explaining the causes of cardiac arrest, Dr Krishna Reddy Nallamalla, a cardiologist and country director of Access Health International, said: “Sudden cardiac arrest has a few underlying causes. The commonest cause is acute myocardial infarction or heart attack. Ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation are the two common rhythm disorders that underlie most of the sudden cardiac arrests. Rhythm disorders leading to sudden cardiac arrest are also seen in patients with damaged hearts from a previous heart stroke.”
“Certain inherited conditions make people develop heart rhythm disorders without any underlying heart damage. Strong family history of sudden cardiac death will point to these,” added the doctor. A study on the causes of cardiac arrests among athletes had found that excessive exercising too can stop a heart.
What are the precautions one can take to prevent a cardiac arrest? “Prevention of sudden cardiac arrest can be achieved by healthy lifestyle, drugs and certain devices. Drugs that prevent heart strokes are the most successful in preventing sudden cardiac arrests. Early recognition of evolving heart stroke and early opening of blocked coronary artery will reduce the events. Implantable defibrillators are most effective in preventing sudden cardiac arrest in people who have damaged hearts with heart failure,” said Dr Krishna Reddy.
It is to be noted here that cardiac arrests and heart attacks are not same. Heart attack can be one of the causes of cardiac arrest. The British Heart Foundation says: “A heart attack is when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked. The heart muscle is robbed of its vital blood supply and, if left untreated, will begin to die because it is not getting enough oxygen. A cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops pumping blood around their body and they stop breathing normally.” Certain factors like smoking, drug use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sedentary lifestyle can increase the chances of getting coronary artery diseases, which can lead to cardiac arrest.
The Indian Heart Association says that when heart disease strikes Indians, it tends to do so at an earlier age (almost 33% earlier) than other demographics, often without prior warning. Furthermore, 50% of all heart attacks in Indian men occur under 50 years of age and 25% of all heart attacks in Indian men occur under 40 years of age. Indian women have high mortality rates from cardiac disease as well.