It is important to note that asystole simply means that the heart has stopped beating. This is seen in an EKG as a flat line and used by doctors to declare that an individual is legally dead. Asystole is typically caused by electrical issues within the heart, but it can also occur among individuals who have a healthy heart. Once an individual experiences cardiac arrest, his/her heart will no longer pump and the flow of blood stops, thus oxygen will no longer reach the brain and other vital organs in the body.
Trauma can cause the heart to stop beating. Certain events such as suffocation, drowning or inhalation of smoke will deprive the body and heart of oxygen, which is vital to a beating heart. Accidents that result to massive bleeding can lead to a drop in the blood pressure, thus leading to asystole since there is inadequate blood for the heart to pump properly. Even accidents that involve electricity can also cause erratic heart rhythms that will end up in asystole. If you want to learn more about this condition, click here.
Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease is a condition in which the heart is healthy but the arteries that lead to the heart are not delivering enough blood. The lack of blood will cause damage to the heart muscles and the individual experiences a heart attack.
A heart attack will not always cause the heart to stop beating, but sudden cardiac arrest can occur as a result of the heart attack. If coronary artery disease is not diagnosed early, it is a major risk factor for cardiac arrest.
Hypothermia can develop in asystole once the core body temperature of the individual reaches 82.4 degrees F. It is important to note that asystole caused by hypothermia can be due to the buildup of carbon dioxide. This can actually be reversed with proper warming and medical care even if the individual does not have a heartbeat in two hours.
Always bear in mind that drug overdose can lead to asystole. The use of antidepressants and narcotics can cause asystole in a health heart. There are also other medications that can cause the heart to stop such as prohibited drugs, over-the-counter pills or excessive intake of prescription medications.
There are also medical issues not related to the heart that can cause asystole, particularly if the diseases are considered terminal. Hyperkalemia is a condition in which there is excess amount of potassium in the blood. Take note that potassium is vital for regulating the electrical activity in the body but excess amounts can cause the heart to stop beating. Kidney disease, cancer, diabetes and other health issues can lead to death and eventually lead to asystole.