There are 4 principle mechanisms that i can think of (there may be more than this): (1) ischemia - where the heart muscle dies because the oxygen supply to the heart is cut off by blockage in the coronary artery or a person has stopped breathing; (2) fibrillation - where the electric impulses to the different heart chambers get out of sequence and circulation is disrupted; (3) electrolyte imbalance that impedes the heart muscle's ability to contract or relax; and (4) loss of nerve signals to the heart from the lower brain stem.
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