A blockage or narrowing of the coronary artery cuts off or reduces blood flow to the heart causing damage due to lack of oxygen.
What is out-of-hospital cardiac arrest?
Due to misrepresentation in the movies, most people will think that a cardiac arrest is a heart attack
and that performing CPR will magically bring somebody back to life.
Both of these statements are wrong.
is, for lack of a better word, sudden death. A person in cardiac arrest will collapse and stop breathing normally and should receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately.
Cardiac arrest results for a number of reasons and your heart stops. The blood stops flowing through your veins and most importantly your brain stops receiving oxygen.
Cardiac arrest can be a result of a heart attack, which is actually a heart condition and not as many would think a cardiac arrest (sudden death). Cardiac arrest can result from drowning, drug overdose, massive trauma such as a car crash or a number of different medical conditions.
Cardiac arrest does not discriminate, it can happen to a 2-year old drowning victim, a healthy and fit prospective 23-year old athlete on a sports field, a hard working 50-year old mum or a 75-year old teacher enjoying his retirement years.
We know that for every minute that your heart is not pushing oxygen around your body and to your brain the chances of survival drop by 10%. Around the 10-minute mark the damage to your brain is nearly irreversible.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
is performing chest compressions at the beat of about 120/minute at ideal depth of 4-5cm and is designed to push the blood around your body and to your brain. On its own CPR will not bring a cardiac arrest victim back to life.
For that to happen you need a defibrillator that will shock the heart back to a working rhythm.
Advances in defibrillator technology have produced the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) designed for ease of use by members of the public. Each unit comes with instructions on how to apply and use on a cardiac arrest victim with complete safety.
The heart stops beating abruptly from a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system or a sudden change in the circulatory system.
HOURS OR DAYS BEFORE
symptoms are recognised
- Chest Pain
- Difficulty Breathing
loss of consciousness & collapse
- Not Breathing
- No Pulse
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SUSPECT A
If you think someone may be having a heart attack, regard this as an emergency. Do not waste vital moments. Rather than going to a doctor’s clinic, take these steps:
- Call 000
- Ask for Ambulance Service
- Report a possible heart attack
- Give the person an aspirin if you have any unless the person has been advised not to take this particular medication
- Make sure they rest quietly while you wait for transport or an ambulance
- If an ambulance is not readily available (for example, in some rural areas) quickly notify the nearest hospital, health clinic or the person’s usual doctor for advice
* This advice is based on the Heart Attack Action Plan from Heart Research Australia.
UNTIL HELP ARRIVES
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SUSPECT A
Make sure it is safe to approach:
- Check for any response from the victim
- Tilt their head back, lift their chin and check breathing
- If breathing is absent or is not normal, CPR is needed
- Call 000 in Australia or 111 in New Zealand and follow their instructions
- If someone is there to help, ask them to call 000 in Australia or 111 in New Zealand for you and ask them to fetch an AED if possible
- Place both hands in centre of chest
- Compress the chest to the rhythm of ‘Stayin Alive’
- If you learnt how, provide 2 rescue breaths between every 30 compressions, otherwise push the chest continuously
- Push hard. Don’t worry, you can’t do any harm
- If an AED arrives, switch it on immediately and follow the instructions