Sudden Cardiac Death: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 12/19/2019

Sudden cardiac death is death that occurs rapidly and often in a healthy person, due to heart problems. It is caused by sudden stopping of the heartbeat. It is also referred to as sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac death is most common after a heart attack, but it can rarely also occur in healthy people.

In most cases, a person experiencing sudden cardiac death has a collapse and loses consciousness right away. Sometimes, they may feel symptoms immediately prior to the event such as

  • palpitations,
  • racing heart,
  • nausea,
  • shortness of breath, or
  • lightheadedness.

Cause of sudden cardiac death

Heart defects and problems with the electrical conduction system in the heart (arrhythmias) are other potential causes of sudden cardiac death.

Other sudden cardiac death symptoms and signs

  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Palpitations
  • Racing Heart
  • Shortness of Breath

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/19/2019


In the U.S., 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease. See Answer

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