- Sometimes cardiac arrest is secondary to something.
- This is usually because something interferes with the mechanics or metabolism of the heart: There’s not enough blood so it can’t fill up properly, or sometimes it’s compressed so dilation is impossible (as in tamponade). PE is also a cause as it interferes with a proper systole due to high pulmonary artery pressure from the thrombus. Hypoxemia, high potassium or toxins are other causes.
- Tamponade occurs because the pericardial cavity fills up with some fluid such like inflammatory serum in pericarditis or blood after trauma or myocardial rupture. Blood is trapped and ventricles are heavily compressed.
- Cardiac cavities can’t properly dilate so fibers can’t elongate, so they can’t properly contract. Soon after heart goes from weak systole to arrest. It stops. No fibrillation so all you can do is compress the chest.
- The most important thing to start the heart again is to remove the primary cause. You need to resolve the tamponade soon.
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