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EKGs could spot warning signs of cardiac arrest

Emily Linnert -

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) -- About 350,000 Americans suffer sudden cardiac arrest annually. Doctors say only one person out of 10 will survive.

Predicting who would experience sudden cardiac arrest has been a mystery, but now, one of the nation's leading experts on heart rhythm problems has discovered one of the oldest medical tests can help assess a patient's risk.

The electrocardiogram, or EKG, is an inexpensive test that may be the answer doctors have been looking for.

"By the time cardiac arrest happens, it's way too late. Because every minute that passes, there's a 10 percent chance of dying. Math is easy. Ten minutes and you're gone," Dr. Sumeet Chugh, associate director of the Heart Institute for Genomic Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. "It turns out that half the patients who are going to have a sudden cardiac arrest will have some kind of warning. The other half won't. So just imagine half of them are going to have some cardiac arrest as the first unexpected sign of heart disease."

Above, 24 Hour News 8's Emily Linnert speaks with NBC News Medical Correspondent Dr. John Torres about his Aug. 22, 2017 report for NBC News.


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