Sudden cardiac arrest: Many suffer from previously unnoticed silent heart attacks

Sudden cardiac arrest: Many suffer from previously unnoticed silent heart attacks

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Sudden cardiac arrest due to previous silent heart attack?

According to a new study, many people who die from sudden cardiac arrest have previously had a silent heart attack without realizing it.

The University of Oulu's latest investigation found that many people experience a so-called silent heart attack without realizing it before they die from sudden cardiac arrest. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "JAMA Cardiology".

What is sudden cardiac arrest?

In the study, almost half (42.4 percent) of people who had no history of coronary artery disease but died of sudden cardiac arrest showed signs of a previous silent heart attack. A sudden, unexpected loss of heart function leads to loss of breathing and consciousness, which often leads to the death of the person concerned. Such sudden cardiac death is most often associated with coronary artery disease.

Data from 5,869 people from northern Finland were analyzed

A separate study from 2010 found that 34 percent of people with sudden cardiac death showed signs of a previous heart attack, which remained undetected. The new investigation included analysis of the data from 5,869 people from northern Finland who suffered sudden cardiac death between 1998 and 2017. Of these sudden cardiac deaths, 4,392 were caused by coronary artery disease and 3,122 of these cases had no history of coronary artery disease.

How often did a silent heart attack occur?

After analyzing autopsies and EKG measurements for each case, the researchers found that among the 3,122 people who had no previous coronary artery disease, 1,322 or 42.4 percent had scars in the heart that were dumb Heart attack. Silent heart attacks occur without anyone knowing.

More research is needed

However, the study also had some limitations, including the fact that the autopsy data only revealed when scars were found but did not provide information on the size of the scar. In addition, symptoms could not be reliably assessed before each death or at the start of cardiac arrest, and further investigation is needed to determine whether similar results can be seen in other countries. (as)

More interesting articles on this topic can be found here:

  • Sudden cardiac death - these are the first warning signs and so we can protect ourselves
  • Sudden cardiac death: regular cyclones in the heart
  • Some cardiac arrhythmias can cause sudden cardiac death - so you can protect yourself against it

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Juha H. Vähätalo, Heikki V. Huikuri, Lauri TA Holmström, Tuomas V. Kenttä, M. Anette E. Haukilahti et al .: Association of Silent Myocardial Infarction and Sudden Cardiac Death, in JAMA Cardiology (query: 11.07.2019), JAMA Cardiology

Video: Silent Heart Attack. Signs, Symptoms u0026 Prevention of Heart Attack - Max Hospital (July 2022).


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