The Bills tweeted early Tuesday that after experiencing a hit during the game against the Bengals, Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest. His heartbeat was revived on the field, and he was then taken to the UC Medical Center for additional examination and care. At present, he is under sedation and is categorized as being in critical condition.
The Bills have stated that the 24-year-old is still in the intensive care unit. Jordon Rooney, the family spokesperson, informed “Good Morning America” that the family is “in good spirits” and “approaching the situation one minute at a time.”
Despite the confirmation about Hamlin’s medical episode, the term “cardiac arrest” is often used interchangeably with the term “heart attack,” even though they are not the same two things.
Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a cardiovascular medicine specialist and the director of Mount Sinai Heart in New York City, informed ABC News, “Distinguishing between cardiac arrest and heart attack is highly significant as they can either happen simultaneously in an individual or be entirely distinct occurrences.”
Heart attacks happen when a coronary artery that provides blood to the heart becomes blocked, thus impeding the blood circulation to the organ.
According to Dr. Matthew Saybolt, a cardiologist at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, he informed ABC News that an arrhythmia or an electrical disruption of the heart is typically caused by a cessation of heart activity or a cessation of heart pumping, which essentially results in a cardiac arrest. In the meantime.
One effective method to distinguish between a heart attack and cardiac arrest is by considering them as a “circulation” issue and an “electrical” issue, respectively, as suggested by the American Heart Association.
The occurrence of one does not necessarily have to be followed by the occurrence of the other – and heart attacks raise the likelihood of experiencing cardiac arrest – whereas cardiac arrest can happen either immediately after a heart attack or during the recovery period.
Bhatt stated, “Not all cardiac arrests are a result of heart attacks, and not all heart attacks cause cardiac arrests, but a cardiac arrest can cause a heart attack.”
Heart attacks are primarily caused by coronary heart disease, which is when heart arteries can’t deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart.
Some of the risk factors for atherosclerosis and the narrowing of blood vessels due to plaque build-up made of fat, cholesterol, and other substances include high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, diabetes, tobacco use, being male, advancing age, and experiencing a heart attack. This occurs as a result of atherosclerosis.
Experts stated that cardiac arrest can be caused by several conditions, including ventricular fibrillation, a type of arrhythmia that occurs in the lower chambers of the heart where congenital heart disease and coronary heart disease are commonly observed.
Athletes who engage in sports involving projectiles, such as baseballs and hockey pucks, are most commonly affected by the latter condition, which occurs when the heart’s rhythm is disturbed as a result of a forceful impact to the chest precisely timed with a specific moment in the heartbeat.
Bhatt stated, “Although the pitcher is young and in good health, the impact of the line drive to the chest occurred at an unfortunate moment in the heart’s electrical cycle, causing an irregular heart rhythm.” “Traditionally, I have observed this happening to baseball players when a line drive hits the pitcher’s chest, resulting in the pitcher collapsing.”
AHA, the symptoms most commonly associated with a heart attack include dizziness or lightheadedness, shortness of breath, discomfort or pain in the stomach, jaw, neck, back, or arms, or a combination of these. The symptoms of a cardiac arrest and a heart attack can also differ.
Patients may experience immediate symptoms, symptoms that begin mildly and then advance, and in certain instances, no symptoms whatsoever.
The symptoms of a cardiac arrest patient can occur suddenly and unexpectedly. These symptoms may include loss of consciousness or collapsing, accompanied by fainting or a weak or absent pulse. Additionally, the patient may experience difficulty breathing or a complete absence of breathing.
How to assist in preserving patients
In cases of emergency, experts suggest that the patient should seek immediate medical assistance by calling the local emergency number or 911. They also advise shouting for help from nearby individuals to assess the patient’s responsiveness.
When someone is experiencing cardiac arrest, it is possible to use an AED or an external automated defibrillator to find and call for help.
When utilizing it, there is no need to be concerned about causing harm to the patient, according to specialists. They further explain that automated external defibrillators (AEDs), which are present in numerous public establishments such as restaurants, sporting events, and workplaces, are medical instruments that assess the heart’s rhythm and administer an electric shock if necessary.
“Utilize it and acquire the AED, contact 911 is all you need to do. Solely, the AED is intelligent enough to determine whether they’re experiencing a myocardial infarction or not or they’re encountering a cardiac arrest. At Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Michael Emery, a heart specialist and co-director of the Sports Cardiology Center, informed ABC News that the AED will ascertain that and administer that jolt if the patient is in an irregular heartbeat that requires a jolt.”
According to the AHA, performing CPR on a patient immediately can increase the chances of survival by two or three times. Another crucial step is to initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation, also known as CPR, as early as possible.
Hamlin quickly received CPR after he collapsed on the field, which helped resuscitate him long enough to be transported to a hospital.
Emery stated, “Regarding the timing aspect alone,” the higher the chances of the patient’s survival, the earlier one can commence CPR and administer an AED. The consequences significantly deteriorate with each minute of resuscitation delay during an arrest scenario; it is crucial to acknowledge that bystander CPR saves lives.”
Saybolt stated, “All of this resulted in a situation where immediate medical attention, such as CPR, can keep the patient alive for an extended period of time until advanced medical assistance can be provided. There are instances where people’s hearts can be stopped and CPR performed by a bystander can help maintain the patient’s life for a significant duration.”
Experts said that learning CPR helps people recognize the symptoms of heart attacks and encourages them to learn how to arrest cardiac situations.
Bhatt said, “If you’re thinking, ‘Oh, I never need to go to that kind of training,’ it’s really a really good idea for everyone to get some sort of basic training, so you can potentially save someone’s life. And the more you know, the more likely you are to be able to help someone, whether it’s a family member, coworker, or friend.”