Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heartbeat stops abruptly and unexpectedly. This usually is caused by an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain, the heart and the rest of the body, and the person collapses. In fact, the victim is clinically dead and will remain so unless someone helps immediately. A quick combination of CPR and defibrillation can restore life. The first symptom of sudden cardiac arrest is sudden cardiac arrest. While a heart attack can cause sudden cardiac arrest, a heart attack is a condition in which a blood clot suddenly blocks a coronary artery, resulting in the death of the heart muscle supplied by that artery, unless the clot is opened within a few hours. Heart attack victims usually experience symptoms such as chest discomfort or pain and remain conscious. Most people who have a heart attack survive the event. Some will develop an SCA. Other people have an SCA independently from a heart attack and without warning signs. SCA results in death if it is not treated immediately. SCA often occurs in active people who seem to be healthy and have no known medical conditions. In these patients, SCA is the first indication of a heart condition.
In order for the patient to have the best chance of surviving SCA, CPR and early defibrillation must be provided within the first 4 minutes of the cardiac arrest followed by advanced care by EMS and hospital personnel.
- Early Access to the emergency response system.
- Early CPR to support circulation to the heart and brain until normal heart activity is restored;
- Early Defibrillation to treat cardiac arrest; and
- Early Advanced Care by EMS and hospital personnel.
EMS Response Time
In the event of SCA, too often EMS response times are too slow. Early access to CPR and defibrillation are critical to survival. That’s why it is critical that everyone become trained in CPR+AED and that public access to an AED becomes commonplace.
Public Access AED
Public access to defibrillation (PAD) means making AEDs available in public and/or private places where large numbers of people gather such as sports arenas, gated communities, office complexes, doctor’s offices, shopping malls, etc. or where people who are at high risk for heart attacks live.
What is an AED?
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a computerized medical device. An AED can check a person’s heart rhythm. It can recognize a rhythm that requires a shock. And it can advise the rescuer when a shock is needed. An AED uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell the rescuer the steps to take. AEDs are very accurate and easy to use. With a few hours of training, anyone can learn to operate an AED safely. There are many different brands of AEDs, but the same basic steps apply to all of them. An AED professional can help you understand the features, benefits and cost of any brand of AED and how to comply with the requirements of an AED program.
Early CPR is an integral part of providing lifesaving aid to people suffering sudden cardiac arrest. CPR helps to circulate oxygen-rich blood to the brain. After the AED is attached and delivers a shock, the typical AED will prompt the operator to continue CPR while the device continues to analyze the victim. An AED operator must know how to recognize the signs of a sudden cardiac arrest, when to activate the EMS system, and how to do CPR. It’s also important for operators to receive formal training on whichever AED model they will use so that they become familiar with the device and are able to successfully operate it in an emergency. Training also teaches the operator how to avoid potentially hazardous situations.