Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Could Symptom Recognition Help Avoid Sudden Death?

In today's online version of Circulation, researchers from Berlin, Germany reviewed the circumstances surrounding a large number of cardiac arrests and found some important data:
Typical angina (chest discomfort or heaviness) was present for a median of 120 minutes in 25% of the 274 patients with witnessed arrest and in 33% with a symptom duration of less than 1 hour.
There's no better way to precipitate a malignant heart rhythm disturbance that to deprive the heart oxygen, and angina is the classic symptom of this oxygen shortage. Symptoms can include chest "heaviness," or "pressure", a choking sensation, jaw discomfort, arm or back discomfort, including a sensation of a band-like grip around the chest - especially with exertion. Shortness of breath with exertion and even burping with exertion can be seen.

So why didn't these people summon help? Perhaps ignorance played a role.

More likely, though, it was denial.


PS: If this happens to you or a loved one, please call for help.... immediately.


Dr. A said...

Hi Dr. Wes, found you from Dr. Kannan. Great blog. Thanks for the link, I will do the same. I like the walletectomy post. I also like the term wallet biopsy.

Great "Got Morphine" t-shirt. I may get one. Keep up the great work!

DrWes said...

Welcome, Dr A!. Glad to exchange links!