Men and Women Have Various Pre-Cardiac Arrest Symptoms

According to scientists, individuals who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest may also exhibit sex-specific symptoms in the hours preceding the incident, such as chest discomfort for males and shortness of breath for women.

Based on a study published in The Lancet Digital Health, almost 90% of patients with sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital environment do not survive, leaving at least 250,000 people dead in the United States each year.

It is necessary to improve the diagnosis and prevention of the disorder since quick action can boost survival rates. Digital technology could be the solution, but to prevent false-positive calls that might overburden the healthcare system, particular symptoms that could indicate cardiac arrest must be established.


In the present study, researchers from Cedars Sinai examined the best methods for anticipating impending sudden cardiac arrest.

How did the team conduct the research?

They discovered that warning symptoms can vary across men and women and are felt by about 50% of persons with a sudden cardiac arrest in the 24 hours previously.

According to Dr. Sumeet Chugh, senior author of the study and professor of cardiology at Cedars Sinai, "harnessing warning symptoms to perform effective triage for those who need to make a 911 call could lead to early intervention and prevention of imminent death."

The results, he continued, may result in a new paradigm for preventing sudden cardiac death.

Data from two ongoing, community-based studies called Prediction of Sudden Death in Multi-Ethnic Communities (PRESTO) and Sudden Unexpected Death Study (SUDS) was used to gather information on sudden cardiac fatalities. Before a sudden cardiac arrest, they examined the frequency of particular symptoms or clusters of symptoms in the population.

Notably, the researchers used a reference group to assist the results to be more applicable to the broader public. Emergency medical services (EMS) treated individuals who did not experience a sudden cardiac arrest but still displayed signs that may have been misinterpreted for an impending cardiac arrest.

According to the data, tiny groups of patients from both sexes had indications like irregular sweating or seizure-like behavior before suffering a sudden cardiac arrest.


Shortness of breath was the most common complaint for women, although males were more likely to have chest discomfort.

Additionally, they discovered that 50% of the 823 participants in the PRESTO research who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest that was observed by a bystander or EMS staff had at least one warning sign earlier.

Per Dr. Eduardo Marbán of Cedars Sinai, this is the first community-based study to assess the relationship between warning symptoms, or combinations of symptoms, and impending sudden cardiac arrest utilizing a comparison group with symptoms collected by EMS as part of standard emergency care.

The authors state in their report that "the prevalence of warning symptoms in our study was sex-specific and differed significantly between patients with sudden cardiac arrest and control participants."

The team concludes: "Warning symptoms are common but will probably need to be augmented with additional features, such as the clinical profile and biometric measures, for improved prediction of imminent sudden cardiac arrest."


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