Is back pain a warning sign of cardiac arrest?

“Because certain signs and symptoms precede cardiac arrest (sudden loss of heart function in a person who may or may not have been diagnosed with heart disease, according to the American Heart Association), it is important to be alert to any warning signs the body can give you,” said Dr Ruchit Shah, Interventional Cardiologist, Masina Hospital, Mumbai, adding that prompt action and seeking immediate medical help can save lives. what chest pain, most common sign associated with cardiac arrestthe only symptom to worry about?

What is cardiac arrest?

Cardiac arrest usually follows a heart attack or heart failure, Dr. Shah said. “Heart attack means a blockage in one of the major heart arteries which may lead to a sudden collapse of the heart or electrical disturbances in the heart which may lead to cardiac arrest. Although chest pain is a common symptom of the same, pain can be felt anywhere in the body. It can be on the front, left or right of the shoulder, left hand, right hand, upper belly, jaw, neck, back between the two shoulder blades or n anywhere between the chin and the umbilicus, either in front or behind,” said Dr Shah

Common and less common signs

“There are many cases of heart problems that occur suddenly in people of different ages. However, in most cases, heart problems start with mild pain or discomfort. While chest pain is one of the most common symptoms of a heart attack, among multiple other warning signs that a person should not ignore is severe back pain,” said Dr. Zakia Khan, Senior Interventional Cardiology Consultant, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.

However, only certain types of back pain are indicators of cardiac arrest, said Dr. Sudeep KN, DM Cardiology, Interventional Cardiologist, Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru. “This includes pain in the upper back, also associated with pain in the shoulder, or new onset of back pain. In addition, back pain with signs of sweating, fatigue and shortness of breath are rare signs of myocardial infarction that can lead to cardiac arrest, if left untreated,” Dr. Sudeep said.

According to Dr. Khan, “severe upper back pain” that radiates to the chest or arm can be a valid symptom of an impending heart attack. “Surprisingly, the American Heart Association noted that women are more likely than men to report back pain that occurred before and during a heart attack,” he said.

Acute back pain can be a manifestation of two heart conditions, said Dr. Praveen Kulkarni, a senior cardiologist at Global Hospitals Parel, Mumbai. “One is the most common form of heart attack with pain in the center of the chest where some patients present with excruciating back pain,” he said.

Patients should understand some warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, chest pain, and seek help. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Additionally, severe back pain can manifest as aortic dissection, a life-threatening condition caused by an internal tear in the aorta, a vessel that carries clean blood around the body, he added. “In addition, severe high blood pressure can also cause aortic hematoma, so it is essential to take it seriously and get to the hospital at the earliest. If not diagnosed in time, it can lead to sudden death,” warned Dr Kulkarni.

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What to do in case of signs?

If a person experiences any of the above signs, as a first step in care, one should go to a medical facility and get a cardiac evaluation in the form of ECG, ECHO, TMT, etc. to rule out cardiac causes of back pain, Dr. Khan said.


“Regular physical exams and other preventative health care measures, including periodic blood pressure checks and diagnostic tests, can go a long way in preventing heart problems and bringing any risk factors to light easily. preventable,” Dr. Sudeep said.

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