Women at higher risk of fatal, nighttime cardiac arrest

Jan. 26, 2021

New research from the Center for Cardiac Arrest Prevention in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai has found that during nighttime hours, women are more likely than men to suffer sudden death due to cardiac arrest, according to a press release from the medical center. Findings were published yesterday in the journal Heart Rhythm, according to a press release from the medical center.

Sudden cardiac arrest – also called sudden cardiac death – is an electrical disturbance of the heart rhythm that causes the heart to stop beating. And unlike a heart attack, when most have symptoms, sudden cardiac death can present in the absence of warning signs.

In the study, the of investigators looked at records of 4,126 patients, with 3,208 daytime cases of sudden cardiac arrest and 918 nighttime cases. Compared with daytime cases, patients who suffered from nighttime cardiac arrest were more likely to be female.

While further work is needed, the researchers suggest there may be a respiratory component causing this increased risk at night for women.

The research also shows: 

· 25.4 percent of females studied suffered cardiac arrest at night versus 20.6 percent of their male counterparts.

· The prevalence of lung disease was significantly higher in those who had a cardiac arrest at night compared with those who had cardiac arrest during the daytime.

· Those who had cardiac arrests in the nighttime had a higher prevalence of prior or current smoking history.

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