What is a second-death?

A second death is the sudden death of heart failure. The patient dies within a few minutes after the onset of the first symptoms. Death occurs within 24 hours, however, is spoken of a sudden cardiac death (Sudden Cardiac Death, short: SCD). Read here which signs and symptoms indicate a sudden cardiac death and how you can prevent a second-death.

Cardiac arrhythmias as a trigger

Every year, around 150, 000 people die of sudden cardiac death in Germany. Acute triggers are usually severe cardiac arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation, ventricular flutter or ventricular tachycardia.

Due to the disturbed impulse at the heart, the heartbeat usually gets faster and faster. In extreme cases, it can be up to 500 beats per minute. Due to the high rate of beat, no real contraction of the heart can take place anymore and no more blood is pumped through the body. Eventually, the cycle collapses and death ensues.

Coronary heart disease increases the risk

The risk of suffering a second death increases markedly by heart disease, such as coronary heart disease. In addition, there is an increased risk for the following groups of people:

  • People who have already suffered at least one heart attack
  • People who have survived a cardiac arrest
  • People with cardiac arrhythmias
  • Persons with family members who have died from a sudden cardiac death
  • People with heart failure

Generally, any factor that has a damaging effect on the heart increases the risk of a second-second death. These include obesity, smoking, high alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and elevated cholesterol levels.

Sudden cardiac death during sports

Sport is healthy - but with existing risk factors it can be dangerous and, in extreme cases, even lead to death. Thus, more than half of all second-deaths occur during or after a heavy physical exercise. In the case of heart disease, sports activities should always be discussed with the attending physician.

If a second death occurs in young people during sports, there is often an unrecognized heart muscle inflammation. Likewise, other heart diseases, such as a previously unknown heart defect, may be the cause.

By the way: Even with a healthy heart, a second-death can not be ruled out with certainty. Because even causes such as aortic tear or pulmonary embolism can cause a sudden cardiac death.

Secondary death: symptoms

Typical of the second death is that death occurs very quickly. Most of the time the victim suddenly faints and no longer has a tactile pulse. In addition, respiratory arrest occurs within a very short time. Often, the affected are the pupils dilated and the skin on the fingernails grayish discolored. Without immediate rescue, cardiac arrest can kill you within a few minutes.

There are no typical warning signs or symptoms that could detect a second-death at an early stage. Similar to a heart attack, cardiac arrhythmias and ventricular fibrillation can cause symptoms such as pain and chest tightness. It can also cause respiratory distress and dizziness and fainting. People who have already suffered a heart attack should be particularly sensitive to the onset of heart attack.

Prevent second death

A second death can only be prevented by a fast, correct treatment. It is important that immediately an ambulance and ambulance are called. In addition, immediate resuscitation measures (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) must be initiated.

In addition, a defibrillator should be used as soon as possible. This electro-shock device ensures that the electrical activity of the heart is rearranged and the heart begins to beat slowly and regularly again.

Prevent sudden cardiac death

To prevent a second-death, you should take care of the health of your heart. Avoid risk factors such as smoking, overweight and physical inactivity. Also, seek medical attention early if you suspect something is wrong with your heart.

In order to keep the heart healthy, it is also important to look after yourself during and after an infection. Under no circumstances should you start training again too soon. Otherwise it can happen that it comes to a heart muscle inflammation. Just undetected myocarditis is often responsible for a second-death in sports.

If you already have heart disease, it is important that you follow the appropriate therapy with your doctor. For more severe heart disease, an implanted defibrillator can help prevent sudden cardiac death.

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