(HealthDay News) – More than half of men with sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) experience symptoms, usually in the previous four weeks, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s 2013 Scientific Sessions, held from Nov. 16–19 in Dallas.

Eloi Marijon, MD, of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, and colleagues evaluated the frequency, characteristics, and temporal trend of all symptomology in the four weeks prior to SCA among 567 middle-aged men.

The researchers found that 53% of the patients presented with symptoms, mainly chest pain (56%), dyspnea (13%), and dizziness/syncope/palpitations (4%). Chest pain episodes were characterized as typical angina and suspicion of angina (67% and 33%, respectively). Typical flu-like symptoms were noted during the four-week period in 10% of cases. Seventy-nine percent of symptoms occurred more than one hour before the SCA event and 21% were immediately preceding the events. Compared with non-coronary artery disease-related SCA, symptoms were especially frequent with associated coronary artery disease (56% vs. 32%). 55% of patients with previously known coronary artery disease had symptoms before SCA.

“In this community-based study, a higher than expected proportion of middle-aged men had warning symptoms prior to SCA,” Marijon and colleagues write. “These findings may be explained by longer duration of evaluation, and have implications for SCA surveillance and prevention.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the biotechnology industry.

More Information