Many different traumatic and medical conditions can lead to cardiac arrest in both adults and children. Immediate management of cardiac arrest should proceed in a protocolised fashion in line with current Resuscitation Council guidance. In parallel with resuscitation, attempts should be made to elucidate the cause of the arrest and treat it as soon as possible. Many causes of cardiac arrest are reversible, including conditions often referred to by the mnemonic “H’s and T’s”, of which the most common are pulmonary or coronary thrombosis as well as hypoxia and hypovolemia. The clinical scenario, clinical exam and heteroanamnesis usually provide useful information for the underlying cause of cardiac arrest. Other diagnostic measures such as 12-lead ECG, measuring QRS duration, Focused Echo Evaluation in Life support (FEEL) are very challenging because they are performed in the cardiac arrest setting, but they are invaluable in confirming or excluding many of the reversible causes of cardiac arrest.
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