Sudden cardiac death is a defined as a sudden, unexpected death caused by loss of heart function or sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac death is responsible for more than a half of all heart disease deaths. Sudden cardiac death occurs most frequently in adults without warning signs and symptoms. An unexpected death happens quickly often due to undiscovered heart defects or overlooked heart abnormalities. The specified conditions that usually result in sudden cardiac death are acute myocardial infarction, acute heart failure and coronary heart disease. Nevertheless, an emergency condition called “a ruptured aortic aneurysm” is also one of the major causes leading to sudden cardiac death.
Get to know “ruptured aortic aneurysms”
An aortic aneurysm is a bulging or dilation in the wall of the aorta which is a major blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body. The dilating wall of aorta is caused by the weakness or degeneration that develops in some portion of the aortic wall. Aortic aneurysms include abdominal aortic aneurysm (in the abdomen) and thoracic aortic aneurysm (in the chest cavity). An aneurysm might enlarge and the wall of the aorta cannot stretch any further. At this point, an aneurysm is at risk of rupturing and causing potentially fatal conditions. If ruptured aortic aneurysm could not be accurately diagnosed and effectively treated in time, it can cause life-threatening internal bleeding which leads to the increased chances of sudden death.
“Clinical data in the US indicates that ruptured aortic aneurysms are usually discovered during forensic investigation in patients with sudden death. Pathological results reveal the ruptures of aorta wall. Patients with ruptured aortic aneurysms up to 50% often die before reaching medical care.”
Risk factors to develop ruptured aortic aneurysms
Aneurysms occur most often in people age 40 and older up to 60-70. However, there is increased incidence in younger age group. Men are more likely to develop abdominal aortic aneurysms much more often than women do. A number of factors can play a major role in developing an aortic aneurysm including:
- High blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure can damage and weaken the aorta’s walls.
- High blood cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). High blood cholesterol substantially induces atherosclerotic plaque that is built up on the lining of a blood vessel.
- High blood sugar (diabetes)
- Lifestyle habits e.g. smoking, being obese or overweight, and excessive stress.
- Genetic alterations that can weaken the aorta’s walls.
Warning signs and symptoms of ruptured aortic aneurysms
The danger of aortic aneurysms is no warning signs and symptoms to suggest that disease develops. When symptoms present, it indicates the ruptures from the innermost layer to the middle layer and eventually to the outermost layer which attaches the vessel to the surrounding tissue. The ruptured aortic aneurysms cause irregular blood circulation. Aggravating symptoms include sudden, intense and persistent chest pain, radiating to the back or abdomen which pain can be described as a tearing sensation. If symptom exhibits, medical attention must be immediately sought in order to receive appropriate and timely treatment which is highly recommended to be performed within 48 hours.
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