Patients who suffer cardiac arrest have little or no warning and just 5% survive. Reuters

Higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of estrogen could protect you from cardiac arrest, suggests a new study from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

Measuring the levels of the two sex hormones in patients' blood may identify patients likely to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest. The study showed that lower levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone, were found in men who had a sudden cardiac arrest. Higher levels of estradiol, the major female sex hormone, were strongly associated with greater chances of having a cardiac arrest in men and women.

Sudden cardiac arrest is the result of defective electrical impulses. Patients may have little or no warning and just 5% of those who suffer sudden cardiac arrest survive.

For patients at known risk, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator can be placed in the chest to detect faulty electrical impulses and provide a shock to return normal rhythm.

The comprehensive, 16-hospital, multiyear assessment of cardiac deaths in the 1 million population of Portland, Oregon metropolitan area was led by Sumeet Chugh, director of the Heart Rhythm Center in the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and funded in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.