How To Respond To a Cardiac Arrest

20th June 2023 - Rob Stanway

Cardiac arrest is one of the most dangerous and life-threatening medical emergencies that a person can experience. It requires immediate action to save someone’s life, but many people are not sure what exactly to do when confronted with this crisis.

Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that can be very scary to experience and witness. Being able to respond appropriately when it happens is critical for the chances of survival – but what should you do? By becoming familiar with CPR and knowing when and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) device, you may be able to save someone’s life in the event of this unpredictable medical emergency.

In this blog post, we will provide important information about how to respond when someone experiences cardiac arrest and cover quick action steps that anyone can take if they witness someone having a cardiac arrest. Our goal is that by providing quality information on this topic, more people can be equipped with the knowledge needed to save lives in case of emergency.

 

WHAT IS A CARDIAC ARREST?

A cardiac arrest is when your heart suddenly stops pumping blood around your body. A cardiac arrest is caused by a dangerous abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), which happens when the electrical system in the heart isn’t working properly.

Ventricular fibrillation (VF) is an example of a dangerous heart rhythm that can lead to cardiac arrest. This is when the heart quivers or ‘fibrillates’ instead of pumping blood.

Cardiac arrest isn’t the same as a heart attack. The heart is still pumping blood around the body during a heart attack, and the patient will usually be conscious and breathing. However, a heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest if left untreated.

A cardiac arrest is an emergency. Call 999, start CPR, and send for an AED/defibrillator if there is one nearby. Follow instructions from the 999 operator until emergency services take over.

 

WHY ARE SUDDEN CARDIAC ARRESTS DIFFERENT?

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any age at any time. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen without any prior warning to an otherwise healthy person. In the UK, there are over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests a year where emergency services attempt to resuscitate the victim. It is estimated that 80% of all sudden cardiac arrests happen within the home.

Due to the nature of the arrhythmia, early defibrillation is key in successful resuscitation. Within the first minute of cardiac arrest, the chances of survival increase to almost 90% if a defibrillator is used. However, there is little chance of saving the victim if defibrillation is not administered within 10 minutes of collapse.

The current survival rate from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests is low – with just 1 in 10 people surviving. With the right treatment at the right place at the right time, this CAN improve, and more lives will be saved.

 

WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE IS HAVING A CARDIAC ARREST

  • CALL 999

Early recognition of a cardiac arrest is vital due to the brain injury which occurs within minutes of loss of blood flow. Call 999, stay calm and answer all the questions clearly.

This will ensure the right help is sent to you as quickly as possible.

  • EARLY CPR

Chest compressions should be started immediately after a person collapses. Early and effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is vital to improving cardiac arrest survival.

Without CPR, the person will die within minutes. You should only do CPR if the person is:

  • Unconscious and not breathing
  • Unconscious and not breathing properly

Knowing when and how to perform CPR, can double or even triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

  • EARLY DEFIBRILLATION

Public access defibrillators are designed to be used by the public. The earlier you can use a defibrillator to give the heart a shock, the better the patient is likely to do. Whilst performing CPR, ask someone to go and find an AED for you. Do not leave the patient.

There is no need to feel nervous about using a defibrillator as the machine will guide you through the process in small, easy steps.

  • EARLY ADVANCED CARE

When a person is in cardiac arrest you should continue to provide CPR and defibrillation until you are told to stop by the emergency services or you become too exhausted to carry on.

 

HOW TO GIVE HANDS-ONLY CPR

Some people may be wary of performing CPR due to the thought of giving rescue breaths, or mouth-to-mouth. However, the NHS shows you how to perform hands-only CPR.

To carry out chest compressions:

  1. Kneel next to the person and place the heel of your hand on the breastbone at the centre of the chest. Place the palm of your other hand on top of the hand that’s on their chest and interlock your fingers.
  2. Position yourself so your shoulders are directly above your hands.
  3. Using your body weight (not just your arms), press straight down by 5 to 6cm (2 to 2.5 inches) on their chest.
  4. Keeping your hands on their chest, release the compression and allow their chest to return to its original position.
  5. Repeat these compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 times a minute until an ambulance arrives or for as long as you can.

 

HOW AEDDONATE CAN HELP

AEDdonate is committed to improving survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, supporting the placement and use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) in local communities.

We achieve this by allowing communities to fundraise or purchase an AED which can then be registered with your local Ambulance Trust for use in an Emergency.

This will help protect communities from the UK’s biggest killer, Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). By working together, we CAN save lives.

CONTACT US today about to apply for funding to get a defibrillator in your area, or CLICK HERE to donate.

Many of us will witness a cardiac arrest in our lifetime, be ready for that day by learning how to do CPR.

SIGN UP to one of our free zoom awareness sessions where you will have the opportunity to learn how to give lifesaving treatment, speak to one of our community defibrillator experts and ask any burning questions in relation to the topic.

HOW TO RESPOND TO A CARDIAC ARREST

Cardiac arrest is one of the most dangerous and life-threatening medical emergencies that a person can experience. It requires immediate action to save someone’s life, but many people are not sure what exactly to do when confronted with this crisis.

Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that can be very scary to experience and witness. Being able to respond appropriately when it happens is critical for the chances of survival – but what should you do? By becoming familiar with CPR and knowing when and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) device, you may be able to save someone’s life in the event of this unpredictable medical emergency.

In this blog post, we will provide important information about how to respond when someone experiences cardiac arrest and cover quick action steps that anyone can take if they witness someone having a cardiac arrest. Our goal is that by providing quality information on this topic, more people can be equipped with the knowledge needed to save lives in case of emergency.

 

WHAT IS A CARDIAC ARREST?

A cardiac arrest is when your heart suddenly stops pumping blood around your body. A cardiac arrest is caused by a dangerous abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), which happens when the electrical system in the heart isn’t working properly.

Ventricular fibrillation (VF) is an example of a dangerous heart rhythm that can lead to cardiac arrest. This is when the heart quivers or ‘fibrillates’ instead of pumping blood.

Cardiac arrest isn’t the same as a heart attack. The heart is still pumping blood around the body during a heart attack, and the patient will usually be conscious and breathing. However, a heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest if left untreated.

A cardiac arrest is an emergency. Call 999, start CPR, and send for an AED/defibrillator if there is one nearby. Follow instructions from the 999 operator until emergency services take over.

 

WHY ARE SUDDEN CARDIAC ARRESTS DIFFERENT?

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any age at any time. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen without any prior warning to an otherwise healthy person. In the UK, there are over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests a year where emergency services attempt to resuscitate the victim. It is estimated that 80% of all sudden cardiac arrests happen within the home.

Due to the nature of the arrhythmia, early defibrillation is key in successful resuscitation. Within the first minute of cardiac arrest, the chances of survival increase to almost 90% if a defibrillator is used. However, there is little chance of saving the victim if defibrillation is not administered within 10 minutes of collapse.

The current survival rate from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests is low – with just 1 in 10 people surviving. With the right treatment at the right place at the right time, this CAN improve, and more lives will be saved.

 

WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE IS HAVING A CARDIAC ARREST

  • CALL 999

Early recognition of a cardiac arrest is vital due to the brain injury which occurs within minutes of loss of blood flow. Call 999, stay calm and answer all the questions clearly.

This will ensure the right help is sent to you as quickly as possible.

  • EARLY CPR

Chest compressions should be started immediately after a person collapses. Early and effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is vital to improving cardiac arrest survival.

Without CPR, the person will die within minutes. You should only do CPR if the person is:

  • Unconscious and not breathing
  • Unconscious and not breathing properly

Knowing when and how to perform CPR, can double or even triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

  • EARLY DEFIBRILLATION

Public access defibrillators are designed to be used by the public. The earlier you can use a defibrillator to give the heart a shock, the better the patient is likely to do. Whilst performing CPR, ask someone to go and find an AED for you. Do not leave the patient.

There is no need to feel nervous about using a defibrillator as the machine will guide you through the process in small, easy steps.

  • EARLY ADVANCED CARE

When a person is in cardiac arrest you should continue to provide CPR and defibrillation until you are told to stop by the emergency services or you become too exhausted to carry on.

 

HOW TO GIVE HANDS-ONLY CPR

Some people may be wary of performing CPR due to the thought of giving rescue breaths, or mouth-to-mouth. However, the NHS shows you how to perform hands-only CPR.

To carry out chest compressions:

  1. Kneel next to the person and place the heel of your hand on the breastbone at the centre of the chest. Place the palm of your other hand on top of the hand that’s on their chest and interlock your fingers.
  2. Position yourself so your shoulders are directly above your hands.
  3. Using your body weight (not just your arms), press straight down by 5 to 6cm (2 to 2.5 inches) on their chest.
  4. Keeping your hands on their chest, release the compression and allow their chest to return to its original position.
  5. Repeat these compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 times a minute until an ambulance arrives or for as long as you can.

 

HOW AEDDONATE CAN HELP

AEDdonate is committed to improving survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, supporting the placement and use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) in local communities.

We achieve this by allowing communities to fundraise or purchase an AED which can then be registered with your local Ambulance Trust for use in an Emergency.

This will help protect communities from the UK’s biggest killer, Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). By working together, we CAN save lives.

CONTACT US today about to apply for funding to get a defibrillator in your area, or CLICK HERE to donate.

Many of us will witness a cardiac arrest in our lifetime, be ready for that day by learning how to do CPR.

SIGN UP to one of our free zoom awareness sessions where you will have the opportunity to learn how to give lifesaving treatment, speak to one of our community defibrillator experts and ask any burning questions in relation to the topic.

01785 472224