The importance of available defibrillators and quick-thinking CPR came to light on Tuesday 12th September when we saw EastEnders commence a new storyline.
Kush Kazemi suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, although fortunately, an AED was present on the square, allowing treatment to be administered right away!
The sequence of events left people fearing for Kush’s life however, viewers were able to breathe a sigh of relief after Thursday nights’ episode showed that he was recovering in hospital.
Kush’s life was saved as a result of bystander CPR as Sonia’s actions ensured he received the necessary treatment immediately after suffering a cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, if no one on the square knew how to respond to the cardiac emergency, Kush would have died within minutes.
It is crucial to limit the time between collapse and treatment as the victims chance of survival decreases by 10% with every minute that passes without treatment.
Time is precious when dealing with a victim of SCA, and emergency services can take approximately 8 minutes to arrive at the scene which, sadly may be too late for a victim of SCA.
Although Kush was fortunate to have survived a cardiac arrest, doctors later discovered that he has Brugada Syndrome which would put him at risk of experiencing another cardiac arrest at any given moment.
What is Brugada Syndrome?
Brugada Syndrome is a rare hereditary heart rhythm disturbance that usually comes from a faulty gene, often causing the heart to beat dangerously fast and irregularly in beats known as arrhythmia. Kush experienced a cardiac arrest as a result of these life-threatening heart rhythms although Brugada Syndrome is a condition that he will have had since birth. We later find out that Kush’s mum Carmel has the same condition and also requires treatment.
Someone with Brugada Syndrome may not experience any symptoms. However, possible signs and symptoms of Brugada Syndrome include:
- Irregular heartbreaks
These symptoms are generally more common in men and symptoms often, but not exclusively, begin to show between the ages of 30 and 40. Symptoms can be triggered by drinking excess amounts of alcohol and a high temperature.
How is Brugada Syndrome Diagnosed?
Brugada Syndrome can be difficult to diagnose, it is done by carrying out an electrocardiogram (ECG) which is a test to record the rhythm and electrical activity of the heart. The waveform that are characteristics of Brugada Syndrome may appear on the results continuously, intermittently or not at all. If no differences show up on the ECG, an injection that continuously monitors the heart rhythm can be given. Once a diagnosis has been made, your GP will refer you for genetic testing and encourage family members to be tested in case they also carry the gene.
What treatment is available for Brugada syndrome?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Brugada Syndrome, however, some medicines may be prescribed to help prevent or reduce the occurrence of abnormal heart rhythms. If you have symptoms or had a previous cardiac arrest, you will be at a greater risk and you may be advised to have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted.
Doctors expressed an urgency surrounding the need for Kush to go into surgery to have an ICD fitted as he would have been classed as a high risk for experiencing another cardiac arrest. An ICD will constantly monitor the heart rhythm, if it notices a dangerous rhythm it can shock the heart to restore it to a normal rhythm.
Can you relate to Kush?
EastEnders have helped to raise awareness of Brugada Syndrome with Kush’s storyline. A condition that is otherwise unrecognised or even unheard of as it is rare yet very serious. If you ever witness a person collapse, it is important to call 999 immediately and perform CPR until an ambulance arrives.
If you would like to know more or share your experiences with the condition, head on over to our twitter page @defibshop and a member of the team will happily assist you.